Computing center ‘a partner’ in campus needs
Cynthia Herrera Lindstrom thinks of UIC as her second home.
She started working for the Academic Computing and Communications Center as a student consultant during her freshman year.
Twenty-seven years later, she leads UIC’s computing initiatives.
“I couldn’t think of working anywhere else,” said Lindstrom, chief information officer for UIC and executive director of the Academic Computing and Communications Center.
“The department is a great place to work and we’re more of a family. It’s a place that lends itself for you to make progress.”
The campus has changed tremendously since Lindstrom received her bachelor’s degrees, in math and computer science and economics, two decades ago.
“There were no dorms and if you wanted to eat after 3 p.m., you were out of luck,” said Lindstrom, who also has a master’s in engineering from UIC.
“The campus is now so vibrant and it’s much more appealing in terms of the physical environment.”
When Lindstrom was a student worker, the campus had just one printer in the Science and Engineering Labs, and students had line up to print their work. Computers were much larger then, too.
“Everything now is so small, no matter what the power of the machine is,” she said.
Originally from Argentina, Lindstrom was the first in her family to graduate from college. Studying at UIC had a lot to do with that, she said.
“First-generation students have an opportunity to have the American dream,” she said. “There are a lot of very bright people working at UIC.”
As director of the computing center, Lindstrom wants to reach out to campus departments so they are aware of the services ACCC provides.
“We want people to see us as a partner in what they need,” she said.
Lindstrom plans to create a roving ACCC helpdesk that can set up shop around campus, answering student and employee questions about technology.
“People will use the services more if we are in a place where they already are,” she said.
Recent changes also give the UIC community greater access to software. Students and campus units can download free copies of Microsoft Office, provided through funding from the provost’s office and Library and Information Technology Assessment fees.
Faculty and staff can purchase a copy of Microsoft Office for home use for $10. Download the software at http://webstore.illinois.edu
“That will save units quite a bit of money,” Lindstrom said. “It’s a great deal.”
Lindstrom’s interests aren’t limited to technology. She’s a master gardener with the University of Illinois Extension, volunteering in gardens that supply food pantries.
She also likes to work on her golfing skills with her husband, Armando.
“Golfing is something that’s so easy when you watch it on TV,” she said. “My husband is really good at it and he has the patience to work with me. It’s a lot of fun enjoying nature for four or five hours with no computers or phones.”
Her love for technology has been passed on to her 10-year-old son Elliot, who likes to play video games and use educational apps on the iPad.
“I try not to let him sit at the computer as much as he would like,” Lindstrom said. “Technology is second nature to kids now.”