The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

UI’s ‘Device Advice’ student org provides tech support for seniors

Student volunteers Megan Missey and Erik Woolsey work to form connections by assisting seniors with any technological problems that may arise.
Kathy Le
Erik Woolsey, President, and Megan, student volunteer, aiding attendee Sally through student organization “Device Advice”, aiding senior citizens in technology at Iowa City Public Library Student organization “Device Advice”, aiding senior citizens in technology at Iowa City Public Library.

Device Advice, a student-led volunteer organization through the University of Iowa, is offering tech help to seniors at the Iowa City Public Library for free.

The organization works to assist with any technological problems that may arise from smartphones, apps, or general software.

Third-year UI student Erik Woolsey is the president of Device Advice and has helped provide tech support for seniors since he came to campus.

“The questions I get asked range from complex to relatively simple,” Woolsey said.

Many people come in to ask questions related to customizing settings, how to reset passwords, and how to navigate their iPhones, he said.

“Some people want a new ringtone or help with setting up accounts,” Woolsey said.

Megan Missey, a UI second-year student, just started at Device Advice this year and heard about the organization at the student organization fair.

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Missey said she volunteered at a similar program back home called Tech Connect, where she helped seniors at the senior living center with any technology questions they had.

“My grandparents have always struggled with technology and Tech Connect really helped form bonds with teens, like myself, and helped seniors to form relationships through technology,” Missey said.

Missey said that oftentimes seniors will come in with what may seem like a simple question to younger generations — like how to download an app — when it can be more difficult in reality.

Some seniors are more experienced than others, Missey said, and are able to accomplish basic tech functions and access documents. However, they may need help in other departments such as uploading an attachment or organizing files.

Sally Stutsman, a member of the League of Women’s Voters in Iowa City, came in Tuesday afternoon to locate where her documents were on her computer. She had just returned from a League of Women’s Voters meeting and wanted to upload the minutes to her Google Drive.

Before getting help at the Iowa City Public Library with Device Advice, Stutsman relied on the IT Department at her former job. After retiring eight years ago, Stutsman needed somewhere new to help with her tech needs.

“It is much easier for me to learn when someone is walking me through it rather than trying to find a solution on the internet,” Stutsman said.

Stutsman said the internet often assumes that the average older person knows more than what they actually do. She also said a lot of people rely on their grandchildren to help with technology, but that resource is not always available.

“What I appreciate is that these volunteers aren’t rolling their eyes, looking down on me, or going so fast that I can’t keep up,” Stutsman said. “Having this resource is very helpful and I know that it is going to be here, so I can just come.”

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Woolsey emphasized the importance of digital literacy as well for people of all ages, encouraging individuals to be safe when perusing the internet.

“As everything becomes more digital, it is even more important that seniors especially are aware of what they should and shouldn’t click on,” Woolsey said.

Woolsey and Missey encourage seniors — or anyone who needs tech advice — to come in and ask for help.

Device Advice volunteers are available at the Iowa City Public Library every other Tuesday from 4:30-6 p.m. Volunteers can also be found at the Iowa City Senior Center, located at 28 S. Linn St., in the first-floor lobby from 4-5 p.m. on Thursdays.

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About the Contributors
Shreya Reddy
Shreya Reddy, News Reporter
Shreya Reddy is a freshman at the University of Iowa. Coming from a small town in Kansas, Shreya is double majoring in English and Political Science on the Pre-Law track. Before coming to the Daily Iowan, she has written for her neighborhood magazine and her schools literary magazine as well as writing an investigative journalism piece.
Kathy Le, Photojournalist
Kathy Le is a fourth-year student at The University of Iowa majoring in 3D design and Art History. This is her first year working as a photojournalist of Daily Iowan.