Have you seen a man in a Def Leppard shirt warring with one of the SGS PSI printers? If yes, then you’ve met Ryan Alcorn! If not, we suggest stopping to say hi; he’d probably appreciate a break from the eternal Man vs. Printer battle.
Ryan is our IT Specialist, or “computer wizard,” as he would say. He ensures computers, software, and printers run smoothly, “so the scientists can keep doing their awesome science thing,” he explained. “Software installations, error messages, and phishy emails are a few of the things that typically come my way. I’ve also been known to carry genuine pixie dust for the really weird problems.” We agree that it’s best to be prepared just in case of any supernatural computer concerns.
Working in IT has been a great role for Ryan, because he finds joy in helping others. IT concerns range from fixing broken technologies or programs, to individuals being “unfamiliar with the new version of Outlook.” Ryan’s job requires the technical know-how to fix that which is broken, as well as be able to walk users through a new software so they can learn how to use it. His ideal day at work “presents a new problem and a lesson to learn from it. The more I can learn, the more easily I can help my co-workers do what they do best.” A day without printer wrangling also makes for a good day in Ryan’s book.
Helping the SGS PSI team also serves as a way for Ryan to reshape the stereotypes associated with his role. “IT tends to get cast in a negative–even adversarial–light,” he explained. “I try my best every day to fight that stereotype, and the positive feedback I get makes it feel like I’m making a difference.”
Ryan may be best known in the SGS PSI lab for his collection of Def Leppard shirts or harrowing tales of printer wars, but soon he may be better known for his writing! Ryan has been writing creatively for about seven years, and is contracted with Mean Ink Publishing. “One of the last classes I took in high school was Creative Writing,” he explained. “I wasn’t expecting much from it, but the outlet it gave me for my thoughts and the people in the class all convinced me that it was something I wanted to do more of.”
While Ryan has won poetry competitions, his passion lies in science fiction. “I have a lot of fun putting research into science fiction stories,” he said. “I’ll do hours of research on something and have it turn up as a little more than a one-sentence detail in the finished product.” It seems like it would be disappointing, or even frustrating, to spend so much time on such small details. Ryan, however, loves that part of the writing process. “That sort of research results in a world that’s both fantastic and immersive. It also gets me–as a writer–immersed in the world, story, and characters so I’m more excited to write about them.”
We asked Ryan what his favorite part of the job was, and he said it’s all about the community. “The great people of SGS PSI are all people I really enjoy working with on a daily basis, and I consider it a great privilege,” Ryan said. We think having Ryan as a part of the team is also a privilege! Thank you for all the work you do to help our team and keep our systems in tip-top shape.