University of Vermont

Seth O’Brien Becomes RSENR’s First Full-time, Permanent IT Tech

Seth O'Brien, the Rubenstein School's IT Specialist
Seth O'Brien, the Rubenstein School's IT Specialist

During the summer of 2013, Seth O’Brien, who has been with the Rubenstein School on a temporary basis since 2011, became RSENR’s first full-time, permanent IT technician.

Seth grew up in Cabot, a small town in northeastern Vermont, where he was home-schooled until the third grade.  His parents were park rangers on Groton State Forest, and Seth spent summers at the Forest, developing an interest in the environment.  But, his true calling is all things computer and information technology related.

In fourth grade at the Cabot School, where grades pre K-12 are housed in one school, a computer teacher gave Seth old computers to tinker with, and Seth pieced together broken laptops into one working computer.  He quickly became the Cabot School’s computer expert.  In middle school, he delved into web design and for class projects, created websites.  In high school, he turned to video editing and for class projects, produced videos.

He did computer repair and consulting at the school for teachers and administrators and was often called out of class to attend to an internet or computer crisis in the school when the official IT staff person was unavailable.  Seth started Seth’s Computer Services immediately after high school, and his business still thrives.  Weekends find Seth in the Cabot area helping residents with their computer dilemmas.  He also developed the website for the Cabot Chronicle, the area’s local newspaper, and Seth remains webmaster for the site.

After high school, Seth chose to attend Pace University in lower Manhattan to experience big city life.  His major?  Computer science with a theatre minor.  “I wanted to balance the technical and the arts,” states Seth, who strives to exercise his artistic bent with graphic and web design.

After two years in the city, Seth transferred to UVM to finish his computer science degree with a theatre minor.  With only a couple more courses to complete, Seth will graduate.

Upon arriving at UVM, Seth immediately went to work.  He took a work study position as tech support for UVM Continuing Education.  He added more hours working at the campus Microcomputer Depot.  Finally, he landed in the Rubenstein School at our temporary home in Hills Building before playing a big part in the transition back to the renovated Aiken Center.  Seth now splits his time 80% at RSENR and 20% at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences as a computer lab coordinator in Morrill Hall.

At the Rubenstein School, Seth assists students, staff, and faculty with computer issues; supports software, hardware, networking, and printers; makes recommendations for IT purchases; installs new hardware and software and trains users; and coordinates the School’s electronic document imaging project and trains staff to use the scanner and software to store and search for School documents.

“I appreciate the mindset of environmentalism in the Rubenstein School,” acknowledges Seth, whose parents taught him the value of living sustainably.  “Many tech people care little about energy waste.  It’s nice to work in a community that is willing to invest in better equipment to save energy.”

In his free time, Seth keeps up with new computer programming and enjoys video editing, filming with his theater classmates, video gaming, and building custom gaming computers.  He lives in Montpelier but is slowly building a small off-grid cabin in Cabot.  His interest in all things technological extends to electrical work.  He had fun learning how to connect the cabin’s solar panels to batteries to provide for the cabin’s electrical needs.  The only downside?  He may have to rent office space elsewhere for his computer work, unless he devises a way to run his computer off solar and battery power….