Celebrating National Volunteer Week - Rachel Papka at SDMI

In recognition of National Volunteer Week, Tech Impact is spotlighting some of our amazing volunteers each day this week. The ITWorks and CXWorks volunteers are such an asset to these programs, and they make a huge impact on our students. Our programs would not be the same without them!

Rachel Papka, Chief Health Informatics Officer at Steinberg Diagnostic Medical Imaging rachel(SDMI) in Las Vegas, was introduced to Tech Impact through SIM Las Vegas. Her individual and her company’s support of ITWorks and CXWorks have only grown since that time. To Rachel, it’s a no-brainer. She’s even encouraged her sons to apply for one of the programs!

Tech Impact: How did you first learn about the ITWorks program? What compelled you to get involved?

Rachel: During a SIM Las Vegas meeting, I first learned about Tech Impact. Representatives from Tech Impact told us about this new organization and program that was being brought to Las Vegas, and we were so excited to bring this opportunity into our own community given its success on the East Coast. My first interaction with the program was part of a panel. We had the opportunity to share information about our companies and our teams, but also how each of us landed in our roles with our career roadmaps.

I’ve had the opportunity to mentor as well. It was interesting because I come from an informatics-heavy background where ITWorks focuses more on the technology side. But that really allowed us to discuss the interconnectedness of the various spheres within IT. I don’t think unless you are in the technology field you can understand how broad and diverse the field truly is, but ITWorks does an amazing job of prepping students for that.

Tech Impact: You volunteer in a variety of capacities – do you have a favorite way to get involved?

R: My favorite part of being involved with ITWorks is bringing students to different conferences and forums around Las Vegas! For those ITWorks students who have mentors who are part of SIM Las Vegas, they can be exposed to a whole new community of IT leaders – which is an amazing opportunity for them. In addition to those networking opportunities, Steinberg Diagnostic Medical Imaging has hosted several ITWorks students as interns. Bringing those students onto the team for the real-world, hands-on learning has got to be one of my favorite parts of being involved with ITWorks.

Tech Impact: Describe one experience with a student(s) that stands out as being particularly impactful for the student(s), yourself, or both.

R: We just hosted one of the ITWorks Friday Sessions here at SDMI on Office Etiquette, and I have to say I really enjoyed it! I was tasked with speaking about email protocols, and it was just so satisfying to share these professional skills that are so necessary if you don’t want to learn the hard way in a business environment. Both ITWorks and CXWorks do such an amazing job of preparing their students with these professional skills, so being part of the day that focuses on tangible, real-life skill building was awesome.

Tech Impact: What do you think the benefit is for volunteers who get involved with ITWorks?

R: It brings you back to the real world. I think if you are a volunteer, it reminds you of that learning curve. It reminds you of how often we may take for granted in our own careers that you don’t know what you don’t know. It is very humbling because I may share something that I’ve known for 20+ years, but they are looking at me like a deer in headlights – so it brings you back down a level. If we can all do that as leaders in our community, imagine what it can look like in a few years and beyond.

Tech Impact: Do you have any insight for organizations or individuals who are considering a volunteer opportunity with ITWorks?

R: To put it in perspective, I have twin boys that are Juniors in High School right now. I believe so much in these programs that I’ve already told myself if they don’t figure out what they want to do next then I am sending them to Tech Impact! But really, just get involved. These programs only make our community better. So, if we can get involved by either sitting on a panel, being a mentor, sponsoring the program, picking up the phone and asking how to help…we are too large of a city to not get involved in some way. Whether someone is in healthcare, hospitality, gaming, government, education, and anywhere in between – there is a place for you to volunteer with minimal time commitment at Tech Impact!

Tech Impact: Anything else you’d like to share about your experience?

R: The leadership at Tech Impact is amazing! From Patrick at the helm to Cami and Kera in Las Vegas – they are so engaged and have such passion for these programs. They would not be as successful as it is without everyone who is supporting it! Kudos to the whole team.

Steinberg Diagnostic Medical Imaging has a standard of excellence in patience care and technology that has brought national and international recognition from the medical imaging and health care communities. Their number one priority in their family-owned business is to make sure every patient is treated like a loved member of their family. To learn more about volunteering with Tech Impact, visit our Program pages.

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