Behind-the-Scenes Tech Team Ensures Continuity of Learning

IT support services steadfast in supporting students, faculty & staff
Dahlia Bryan of Suffolk University reports to work every day in her new office—the attic of her Boston home.

However, she is not alone.

Sons Gabriel, 7, and Xavier, 10, are doing schoolwork alongside their mom, who helps Suffolk students, faculty, and staff as service desk manager of the University’s IT Technical Support Services. All three are working on laptops, and any conversation tends to focus on homework.

Until the phone rings.

“That’s when I put my headset on and tell the boys that ‘mommy has to work and to keep quiet,’ but there are times when I know the people I’m talking with can hear them in the background.” said Bryan, who holds two Suffolk degrees and began working at the University 19 years ago when she was a student.

Bryan and her IT colleagues are offering critical behind-the-scenes support for the remote teaching, learning, and work that are so critical for continuity during the COVID- 19 pandemic. Like students, faculty, and staff, the unheralded IT team is adjusting to new working conditions, but the group remains resolute in its mission.
Photos of Dahlia Bryan and Gina Doherty
Dahlia Bryan and Gina Doherty

“They are an amazing, committed, and knowledgeable group,” said Gina Doherty, director of Technical Support Services, of her 17-member team, which is working tirelessly to make sure everyone in the Suffolk community is able to function remotely from home. “I’ve always been impressed with the team’s ability to break down the problem and find the solution." 

In daily IT Zoom meetings, “we talk about our commitment to making sure that everyone is able to function at a high capacity,” said Bryan. “We want to provide people with the same resources that they were used to while they were working on campus.”

Continuing without a hitch

Suffolk Law Professor Steven Ferrey has been reaching out to IT for help with Blackboard, Zoom, and Outlook so that he can interact with his students at the highest level.

“They have been invaluable and have gone above and beyond the call of duty in helping me with the problems I was having,” he said. “I could not have run my classes without them.”

Jerry Slater, associate dean for Professional & Career Development at the Law School, was impressed with how soon IT responded with a setup for him and his staff to work remotely.

“Their quick response and professionalism has enabled us to continue to counsel and advise our students during these challenging times,” he said.

Said Doherty: “Supporting all of Suffolk’s systems off campus has added a new complexity for Tech Support Services, but they are responding to requests during the day, evening, and on weekends to keep everyone’s technology up and running.”

Quick response

Marit Murry, a student in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program, was having difficulty with her fellowship reimbursements and immediately contacted IT for help as she has done in the past.

“They responded within 30 minutes, and they walked me through how to remedy my situation,” she said. “They have always been helpful to me, like when I needed software installed in my computer and basic troubleshooting that allowed me to work from home.”

Nitsa Tsiotos finds herself juggling a number of tasks as coordinator of the Sawyer Business School Accounting Department. Like many other employees, she has sought IT assistance during the past few weeks to make sure her laptop is running smoothly.

“They have given me so much instruction and support,” she said. “They have provided all of us a platform to take on the challenge of working remotely with a great deal of confidence.”

Catherine Dinon, assistant director of Student Financial Services, describes herself as “technically challenged.” She calls IT on a regular basis and is thankful to all the technicians who have helped her along the way.

“They are always available and real lifesavers,” she said. “They really know how to do their jobs.”

Screenshot of IRT Zoom meeting with 14 people
IT support staff gather for a Zoom meeting each morning.


Tony Ferullo
Office of Public Affairs

Greg Gatlin
Office of Public Affairs