Jesse Peplinski is a self-starter whose passion is working with computers. The Liverpool High School graduate came to OCC in the fall of 2013, enrolled in the College’s Computer Science major and two years later received the Curriculum Honor Award before graduating. Peplinski is pictured at the top of this story receiving his award from OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill and Timothy Stedman, Chair of OCC’s Computer Studies department. “Jesse carries himself with a maturity beyond his years,” said Stedman. “His drive and focus are exceptionally rare. He thrives when challenged, not just waiting to be pushed, but seeking out additional opportunities for growth. New ideas and difficult problems cause him to dig deeper and work harder and he actually enjoys it.”
Peplinski faced one of his biggest challenges in April 2015 when he participated in Hack Upstate, a 24-hour event which brings together engineers and developers who collaborate and build products in a limited amount of time. “I heard about Hack Upstate through Professor Stedman,” said Peplinski. “I had no idea what to expect but signed up for it right away.”
The experience wound up being a game changer for Peplinski. “I can honestly say Hack Upstate changed my life. I collaborated with some incredible people, met a ton of awesome folks and above all else I learned so much. As soon as I got home I had a drive to learn all about new technology I wouldn’t have known about.” During Hack Upstate, Peplinski performed well while being matched against people of various skill levels. “Jesse held his own against grad students and professionals,” said Sheila Sicilia, one of his professors in the Computer Studies major at OCC. “His maturity, intelligence and passion for learning are outstanding. He asks insightful questions that show he’s constantly thinking about how to apply the concepts to more complex problems.” The next Hack Upstate event is scheduled for October 3 and 4. Peplinski will be participating and encourages others to attend.
In the summer of 2015 Peplinski’s learning continued during a 10-week long internship at Kishmish, a Syracuse company which provides businesses of all sizes with innovative solutions in IT, data, voice and digital marketing. The internship was coordinated through the College’s Career and Applied Learning Center. Peplinski’s main role was as a content specialist and providing general support for the team. “Kishmish inspired me to start my own web design business on the side. I would highly recommend Kishmish to anyone at OCC looking for a great internship.” Peplinski’s business website can be found here. It is currently under development. He also has his personal website here.
Peplinski is now a student at SUNY Potsdam. He’s majoring in computer science with the goal of becoming a software engineer or web developer. His future is bright thanks in large part to a foundation built at OCC. “My time there helped me confirm what I wanted to do. OCC truly helped me develop a passion through helpful professors, advisers and peers.
You can watch video of Peplinski at Hack Upstate here. He first appears 1:15 into the video and is wearing a maroon “Potsdam” sweatshirt.