UC Clermont grad innovates for Kroger Technology

College helped alum find a new direction — and a life-changing internship

When Tiffany Litteral first started her college career, she thought she was on the right path, with a plan to study Elementary Education. But after working in a daycare and as a professional nanny for several years, Litteral felt less enthusiastic about her choice — and unmotivated to finish her degree.

“I was burned out on learning,” Litteral said.

While considering her next move, Litteral’s father, who worked in information technology for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, suggested she check out a free training in Java, a computer programming language.

“I absolutely loved it,” Litteral said. “I had so many questions that my dad told me he couldn't answer them all, and I’d have to go to school!”

Litteral soon found the right fit to help her reach her new goals: the University of Cincinnati Clermont College. Not only did the college have a two-year degree in information technology, but the price was right — tuition is about half the cost of most other Ohio colleges and universities. She was also eligible for a free class through the UC Clermont’s College Completion Academy, a program that helps students with previous college credit complete their degrees.

“I was easily able to pay out of pocket for my education,” Litteral said. “I even qualified for some grants and scholarships, which helped immensely. I also knew that I would learn better in person with small classes.”

Once Litteral arrived on campus, she found more to recommend the college. In summer 2018, she joined WISE, UC’s Women in Science and Engineering, as a research fellow, working with UC Clermont IT Professor Bill Nicholson on a project to identify and implement an automated system that can detect plagiarism in computer programming courses. She also became the secretary of the Tech Club her first semester, and later, vice president and president of the group.

If you are dedicated, and believe in yourself, UC has the tools to get you through. Do not be afraid to ask for help. If you keep working at it, you can do it.

Tiffany Litteral UC Clermont IT alum

“It was a wonderful experience.” Litteral reflected. “I am also a very social person and felt like things were always happening on campus that I could get involved in.”

During her time at UC Clermont, she heard about UC’s renowned co-operative education program for students in the top-ranked School of Information Technology, housed within the College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services. Her father had also started his career in the field through UC co-op. After graduating from Clermont with her associate degree, Litteral transitioned to the Uptown Campus and has completed three co-op rotations with local employers, including a stint as a technology intern with Kroger Technology and Digital; the position is based out of UC’s 1819 Innovation Hub. Most recently, Litteral worked with Kroger on a project that uses artificial intelligence to detect and output nutrition information and ingredients from just a product image.

“The project has recently been handed off to production,” said Litteral, who will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in 2023. “I plan to stay at Kroger as an intern until I graduate, then become a full-time employee. From there, my goal is to become a product manager.”

In the meantime, Litteral is excited about her future doing something she loves — and attributes her success to determination, passion and the support she received at UC Clermont.

“If you are dedicated, and believe in yourself, UC has the tools to get you through,” Litteral said. “Do not be afraid to ask for help. If you keep working at it, you can do it.”