One-stop tech shop

By Hannah Werle

Youngstown State University’s Guin’s Gadgets sells branded technology accessories, such as laptop sleeves, headphones and wireless chargers in conjunction with the IT Service Desk in Kilcawley Center.

Sharyn Zembower, associate director of IT Customer Services, oversees the service desk and its programs, such as Guin’s Gadgets and the Penguin Plug-In stations and loaner program. 

“Guin’s Gadgets — that is our newest venture out of the service desk — [it’s] an area that’s designed to [provide] students with YSU branded tech items,” Zembower said. “[It’s] a place that they can get tech accessories that they need pretty quickly.”

Zembower said she began working on Guin’s Gadgets in November 2022, but it was always a desire to offer electronic accessories for students. 

“The ultimate goal [is] to be able to provide the students with a place that is almost one-stop shopping, meaning they could come into the kiosk, order a device [and] have it sent here. We can help them set it up and then be able to assist them when they need help with it,” Zembower said.

The IT Service Desk also offers rental computers through the Penguin Plug-In Loaner Program. The program began in 2020 because of the pandemic and virtual learning requirements. 

Students and part-time faculty may use a loaned device for free for two semesters and then for $50 each subsequent semester. 

Megan Blank, a technology support technician at the service desk, worked alongside Zembower to develop the loaning program and Guin’s Gadgets.

“[Zembower] really wanted to make technology available for students, so being able to have different accessories that are pretty much essential for your education,” Blank said. 

Blank said Guin’s Gadgets provides a range of prices, so students can find the items they need at a reasonable cost.

“Utilize the programs. They’re here to help you through education, through teaching, anything like that,” Blank said. “It’s definitely a cheaper option than having to outright either buy a computer or buy different accessories.”

Vince Krasinski, student store manager of Guin’s Gadgets, said he believes the IT Service Desk and Guin’s Gadgets are helpful in part because of their centralized location in Kilcawley Center.

“It’s nice that the service desk is here in Kilcawley because we get a lot of foot traffic and we’re kind of in the center of campus,” Krasinski said. “It’s nice that we are here, in a centralized location, so [customers] can get their tech help in a place where they’d be for other things.” 

The IT Service Desk provides software support for all devices, whether personal or lended. While it cannot assist with hardware issues, the service desk can recommend outside sources for repairs.