Jan 18, 2018
Goodwell, Okla. — Oklahoma Panhandle State University’s news is now accessible on all Amazon Echo devices. Panhandle State’s alumnus, Daren O’Brien, has designed a skill (Alexa application) that will read the latest university news at a simple request: “Alexa, open PSU news.” Echo is a smart-speaker designed with Alexa, Amazon’s interactive cloud-based service provider, activated by simply speaking to it. With Amazon’s Echo device, one can ask Alexa to play music, give weather updates, answer questions, order a pizza, talk with friends, and more. It is essentially a virtual assistant.
A 1991 CIS graduate, O’Brien credits his “incredibly positive experience” at Panhandle State to faculty members of the time such as Diane Murphey, Dr. Sarah Richter, Russell Guthrie, and Pam Nelson. These faculty members were not only there for Daren in the classroom, but outside of it as well. He always felt that he had support during difficult times and relates his college education to “lightning in a bottle”, a once in a lifetime experience.
O’Brien currently resides in Dallas, working in software quality assurance. He believes that Panhandle’s ability to push their students outside of their comfort zones and add different perspectives to their thinking were key and focal to his success as a professional. Among dozens of praises for the University, O’Brien stated, “I’m incredibly proud of Panhandle State and will do anything to support it!”
Being connected to his Alma Mater is a priority in O’Brien’s household, but unfortunately, he was having trouble keeping current with the latest Panhandle State news every day. Upon discovering that his friction point was a lack of time, he decided that he wanted to create a way to listen to the news while multitasking.
Coupled with his desire to create and stay on top of technology’s ever-evolving culture, the motivation to get Panhandle State news was the beginning of creating “PSU News”, one of the first university news skills. Diane Murphey, Director of Alumni, stated that “it is exciting to have alumni give back in such creative ways to the university. I am so proud of Daren and all he has accomplished”.
It is obvious while talking to O’Brien that he is passionate about Panhandle State and truly loves his Alma Mater. His dream is to have students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community members using the application as they need. He is already working on expanding PSU News to offer more features and even more accessibility for anyone that is looking to keep up with Panhandle State’s latest and greatest.
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