Computers repaired, donated to students in need

Mehek Kapur, Staff Reporter

For the past 12 years, 48 De Anza College student interns looking to gain practical experience in the Information Technology Industry, have helped refurbish and redistribute over 2,000 laptops for students in need at De Anza’s Occupational Training Institute Program.

The program began when someone inquired if the OTI could help fix an old laptop. The person then asked the program to refurbish it, and donate it to a student in need.

The event kickstarted the program for them to recycle old computers from companies, take donations from students and faculty and fix them to give to struggling students.

Each computer goes through a long process from the time it is received, to the time it is given to a student. The hardware is fixed and certain software programs that the OTI believes would be beneficial to student learning are installed.

“What makes this job joyous is training the students on something and watching the lights go on in their head when they begin to understand something about the internet or number theory or whatever it is I’m teaching them,” OTI Program Coordinator Joseph Lipsig said.

Lipsig has been in charge of the OTI program for the last nine years. Lipsig said he tries to focus teaching interns soft skills rather than technical training. He believes that being able to make mistakes and interact with others are skills that will help them gain more real world experience.

“The program really improves our technical skills, but it also improves our soft skills,” said OTI intern Dan Trinh. “I’m more confident now and not as scared of job interviews.”