By WARREN DILLAWAY - firstname.lastname@example.org
Irene Edge has kept students on the cutting edge of information technology for decades.
Years of commitment to her students and Ashtabula County were honored recently as Edge, an assistant professor at Kent State University-Ashtabula Campus, received a prestigious national award.
Edge received the “Going the extra mile” award for her work with the Association of Informational Technology Professionals during the past 18 years.
“I’ve been at Kent State since 1982 and I was there two years prior for my associate’s degree,” said Edge who is also retiring from the university.
“Irene’s passion for teaching, her commitment to students and her willingness to lead, along with her unwavering commitment to the Ashtabula campus and Kent State University are all re-occurring themes throughout her 30 year career. Her impact will resonate on the campus and in the community for a very long time,” said Kent State University-Ashtabula Campus Dean Susan Stocker.
Edge was hired as the first network systems manager in 1982 and continued in that position until 1999 when she transitioned to a faculty position after receiving her bachelors degree in 1992. She later earned a masters degree in 2002 and received full tenure as an assistant professor in 2010.
Edge said she had no idea what direction her career would go when she started her career at Kent State 30 years ago.
“I was a kid, you don’t think that (far ahead),” she said.
Ken Johnson, general manager at Conneaut Telephone Company, said Edge has done a fantastic job of preparing area students for the needs of Ashtabula County businesses.
“She has done a great job of designing a program. Her program has evolved, moving ahead with trends at an impressive pace,” he said.
Johnson said Edge has done a great job of providing students a good handle on the technology and helped them polish their professionalism.
“The scariest thing I do is hire new employees,” Johnson said.
He said Edge helped reduce that fear by providing students that are ready for the work force. He said seven or eight of her students work at his company.
Edge said she had opportunities to leave the university and leave Ashtabula County but felt committed to making a difference in her home county.
In 1990 Edge helped her students start a student chapter of the AITP and has been working with the organization for more than two decades.
The students attend an annual conference and competition and have performed well over the years, Edge said. She said the students are able to take certification tests in a variety of areas of expertise relating to computers.
The “Going the extra mile” award honors one person from the entire country, each year, for their efforts in helping others through the AITP.
More than 700 students and professionals attended the most recent conference held in September. “Our students do a great deal of fund raising and (there is) campus support,” Edge said.
Edge also received a lifetime membership award from the AITP, the Raymond J. Kuhn an Shirley S. Kuhn Excellence in Undergraduate Advising Award for Kent State University in 2010, Outstanding Teaching Award finalist for Kent State University 2003, School of Technology Distinguished Alumni Award at Kent State University, Administrator of the Year Award Kent State University-Ashtabula Campus 1998 and Member of the Year Award Northeast Ohio Chapter of AITP 1992.
Edge hopes to learn how to relax after years of working and volunteering her time. “I have no official plans but I plan spend a lot of time with my family,” she said.
“I will teach part-time at the campus (as needed),” Edge said. She said education has played such a big part in her life she will probably apply her skills in some way after taking some time to relax.
Edge hopes to spend time with her husband Ted and their three adult children.