Paul Gargano was in search of an information technology internship. He was familiar with Northeast Arc through his involvement with the Adult Autism Support Center, which assists adults with autism, enabling them to flourish in their everyday lives.
Macarena Arruda, the Center’s adult autism specialist for the Metro North region, connected Paul with Northeast Arc IT director Danny Stamp and senior systems administrator Ryan Waldron. That led to an interview in August 2021 and Gargano started his internship a few months later in October.
“I really appreciate Danny and Ryan developing this role for me,” said Gargano, who earned an associate’s degree in network technology and administration from Bunker Hill Community College in 2019 and a bachelor’s in information technology from UMass Boston in December. “I appreciate the team I’m on.”
A Reading resident, Gargano is high functioning on the autism spectrum. He works three days a week at Northeast Arc and has seen his responsibilities increase, which he welcomes.
“I’m doing more on my own,” he says. “This is my first IT internship so it’s critical that I am learning.”
That is a box that is definitely being checked, according to Waldron.
“Paul is super eager to learn and picks things up very quickly,” he says. “It’s been a great experience for me, too. It’s cool to give back to the mission of the agency.”
Gargano is the second intern in Northeast Arc’s IT department. The first is now working in IT for a local police department. Gargano’s goal is to become a systems administrator some day and Waldron can see it happening.
“I can see his confidence rising,” Waldron said. “This also gives him a little taste of a corporate-type environment. Confidence is huge in IT. There are so many things to learn. If you have confidence you can really accomplish some great things.”
There is reason to believe Paul Gargano will do just that.