By Matthew Pramas
After a few minutes, and a couple trips up and down the McCarthy Recital Hall steps as he set up for an accepted students event, Jerome Allen ’09 who combines his skills in technology, DJing, and business into the career he has today. Information Technology (IT) specialist, entrepreneur, and DJ just hint at the diverse skills Allen has brought to St. Michael’s College over the past decade. But it is the people and the community they form that keeps this jack-of-all trades an active, long-time community member.
Since arriving as a student in ’05, Allen has worked at the school in some capacity. As the instructional technologist and project manager of the IT department, his duties include media services, classroom instruction, and student employee management. Allen’s passions at work fall under audio and project management.
While no day is the same for Allen, with his job requiring him to manage projects and set up audio for campus events, something Allen says he strives for is to connect people’s vision with the technology, so he can “find the technologies and methods that are going to be advantageous for making visions come alive.”
“That first year [of college] showed me that St. Michael’s was a good place to be,” Allen said, but it was camaraderie that his kept him here, he said, noting the influence of fellow graduates like . That comradery includes fellow St. Michael’s graduates Mike Stefanowicz ’09, currently the director of admissions, and Kellie Campbell ’08 and ’12, associate director of the IT department and director of the Accelerated Summer College.
Campbell, his supervisor, added that Allen thinks deeply about his actions and has “a great perspective about what matters…he’s always the one at our meetings, going ‘How does this impact the students?’” People like Campbell and Josh Dionne ’20, one of Allen’s student employees, praise his ability to see his vocation as a service rather than merely a job.
“He’s such a caring person and doesn’t see people as his employees, he sees them as people with their own hopes and dreams and loves to talk to us about that,” Dionne said.
Gregory Rose ’18, another student in the team, said “He’s very good at making you feel confident in what you’re able to do and he’ll never leave you out to the wolves.”
While often led by his passions in technology and leadership, he never predicted where these passions would lead him. For Allen, this has been a natural evolution.
Music and technology have fascinated the Boston native ever since his parents left a box of assorted wires in the living room. Fascination with wires and audio technology developed into a passion, which led Allen to DJ as a teenager.
“It’s something I did with my brother when I was younger and stuck with over the years,” he said. Recently, Allen was part of a DJ business partnership that split up and he plans to continue being a DJ in a solo venture.
The DJ career has led him to play at house-parties, clubs, and more recently weddings. While he has worked at events on campus in the past, he often coordinates events and has his student employees cover them, saying that an effective DJ is able to make strong human connections with their listeners. Dionne helped Allen DJ at the 60s mixer party in the Library Dionne had no previous experience or interest in music, but said that he hopes to partake in future DJ opportunities.
Feeling just at home in a kitchen as he does behind a mixing board, Allen also runs a meal-prep business called Jay Allen Meal Prep. Allen sees change as an opportunity to explore and understand the vastness of life and remarked that “it really is criminal to the people and to the society” when it fails to occur.
Right now Allen is working towards finishing graduate school. He is getting his master’s degree in education with a focus in special education. He is set to graduate in 2020.
He tries to keep an open mind to the changes that might happen down the road. Reflecting on the many unexpected changes of his life, Allen said that transformative experiences breed new levels of responsibility. But what excites Allen comes down to his community.
“I’ve gotten a chance to see my peers really succeed and do well . I think we all really need to set the bar for each other.”