Tamara D.

Senior IT Project Leader, Enterprise Applications — ISC Application & Information Services
Portrait photo of Tamara D.

ISC service(s) or programs/projects:  Next Generation Student Systems (NGSS) Pennant Records Lead for Registration and Fee Assessment

Length of time in ISC:  Joined ISC in 2000 and Penn in 1998

Previous work experience:  Accenture (then Andersen Consulting) telecommunications practice.

Tell us about a challenge at Penn that made you proud to be part of ISC.

I worked from start to finish with a talented and dedicated group of colleagues on the Atlas project for Development & Alumni Relations (DAR). They brought knowledge of the alumni, gifts, prospect data, associated business processes, and PeopleSoft application, as well as diving into new technology to introduce online giving. We launched Atlas on time to support the kickoff of DAR’s $3.5 billion Making History campaign. DAR ultimately exceeded its fundraising goal, raising $4.3 billion for Penn using the new platform and processes.

What’s an interesting technical or business problem you’ve faced with ISC?

For the first phase of the Next Generation Student Systems project (Pennant Accounts), my team was tasked with identifying all areas in the University that process charges, payments, and memos on student accounts — and providing a streamlined solution for loading those applications into the core application, Banner. The project was interesting because of the range of clients as well as the technical challenge. In addition to ISC and Student Records and Financial Services staff, we worked with representatives of more than forty data sources, from Admissions, Business Services, Financial Aid, HR, Schools and Centers, and Student Health.

What do you like best about working with clients?

It’s satisfying to complete test scenarios with a client, and then see the fruits of our labor by gathering metrics on the usage and efficiency of the product. Above all, our clients and ISC colleagues are engaging, smart, and caring — a pleasure to work with.

How has the pandemic changed the way you approach your role?

When the pandemic sent us into remote-work mode, it became clear that communication, prioritization, and documentation were crucial. Pennant Records go-live would be dependent on making progress every day, requiring clarity for team members as to their tasks for that day. I’m constantly obtaining feedback from various groups and adjusting priorities and timelines to ensure that we are working on the right thing at the right time.

What are you passionate about in your free time?

Parks and singing. The year I turned fifty (mid-pandemic), I visited all 50 state parks and marinas in New Jersey. I downloaded the Park Service list, planned tentative dates, emailed friends and family to join me, and off we went! We enjoyed so many beautiful hikes, biking trails, and kayak trips. I am looking to rejoin a chorus this fall after a long hiatus raising humans and enjoying their singing and acting.

What would you like people at Penn to know about you?

When I was in the sixth grade, my goal was to be a translator for the United Nations. I think this career is not far off the mark!