Some quotes from selected Computer Science alumni about their experiences in the Hope College Computer Science Department:
Kathleen Ludewig (2006) is a graduate student in the School of Information at the University of Michigan. She previously worked for Accenture.
“The most important skill that I learned from the Hope CS department was problem solving - how to analyze a problem and logically break it down into feasible tasks. The second most important lesson was how to work in teams.. The team projects also showed me the importance of foresight, that is, making sure that code and documentation is thorough, clear, and re-usable. For me, the biggest challenge at Hope was choosing among the many opportunities available. With the small class sizes, it's difficult to fade into the background at Hope. There are countless opportunities to grow, explore new subjects, and flex your leadership muscles. The professors were very supportive and helped me to gain confidence in myself. The Career Services Office was also very helpful.”
Rick Meyers (1974) is the Chief Technology Officer for Aplia Inc. in San Carlos, California. He previously worked for Hewlett-Packard and Apple and owned his own educational software company.
“The specific technical knowledge you learn at Hope will have a limited shelf life; the technical world keeps changing. What really makes a difference is the skills you learn: time management; fast, effective reading; clear, persuasive writing; logical analysis; mathematics; productive experimentation; problem solving; technical intuition; decision making. The CS, Math, and physical sciences curriculum at Hope, and the research opportunities in these departments, help develop these skills. Going beyond knowledge and skills, what matters most are the fundamentals: integrity, care for others, inner peace. Hope College is a wonderful place to learn balance in life: to grow socially and physically and spiritually and academically.”
Marty Kane (2002) is a software developer for Wolfram Research.
“I cannot overstate how valuable my time at Hope was. I believe I would be a much different person had I not attended. The ways I grew as a person, and in my faith have definitely altered the course of my life for the better. I wouldn't change a thing. My professors at Hope taught me, above all else, how to learn. I have found the ability to understand something new to be immensely useful. They also taught me that developing relationships with people, and using my skills to help people is just as important as anything else academically.”
Alex Suess (1990) leads a team of developers at IBM that produces the software used by micro-processor designers in designing chips for applications inside and outside of IBM, including the three major game console manufacturers.
“I found many Hope classes to be as tough or rigorous as those at my graduate level. The schooling at Hope is special in many regards vs. that of larger graduate level engineering based schools. The professors are able to spend more time with the students(rather than graduate teaching assistants) because their time is not being split with other graduate level work and that shows in the care and depth given to the education. I am very much indebted to Hope College and especially those who have worked there and instilled in me wonderful academic abilities. But beyond that and even more importantly it also has shown me what to value in life through friendships, family and spiritual relationships which go well beyond academic skills.
Anita (VanEngen) Bateman (1998) is an IT Architect with IBM in Austin, Texas. She earned her Masters of Science degree in Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin.
“My CS education at Hope gave me the broad base to be able to take on any challenge I have encountered at IBM -- both technically and with my non-technical skills (communication, writing, relationship-building, teamwork). My experience in the summer research program also gave me an appreciation for the academic side of our field and helped me with the background necessary to pursue my Master's degree. My experience at Hope gave me the broad liberal arts education and the specific major education that I needed to get me where I am. It is easy to forget all the non-technical education we get at Hope, but that is so important when you get out into the real world. Without that, it is hard to be distinguished from any other engineer.”
Robert Brink (1988) is the European IT Manager for Inergy Automotive Systems in France. He received a Masters in International Business from Boston University.
“One of the most memorable lessons from my days of taking classes in the Computer Science department is that computer science is really about problem solving. Now, well into my career, I believe this was a very wise message, as we have seen, over the years, significant changes in the technology and business of developing software The hands on software development component of the coursework we did I see as having been essential for developing an analytic technique, methodical troubleshooting skills and an ability to work with details. I am very happy to have gone the route of a liberal arts education and Hope College provided a very good foundation for that education. I think a liberal arts education is very compatible with a career in management and business consulting, because it allows the computer science professional to look at influences coming from various domains. During my years at Hope, I benefited from a broad range of experiences on campus as well as off. The international semester I did studying conflict resolution in Jerusalem definitely helped me to think globally. Today, globalization is having a big impact on the lives of everyone on the planet.”
Powell Quiring (1982) is a Software Development Manager with IBM. He is responsible for the vision and design of Software Development tools layered used by thousands of engineers world wide.
“The CS classes provided a solid foundation of Computer Science. They also taught me how to teach myself and how to read and study and apply what I've learned to difficult assignments. Hope was a nurturing environment where my fellow students and I were focused on study and learning.”
Nathan Oostendorp (1999) is the site architect for SourceForge.net, the world’s largest repository of open source software. He was one of the original developers on Slashdot.org and the developer of Everything2.com.“Hope College's CS department did an excellent job in giving a well-grounded education in the fundamentals of computer science. Both theory and practical applications were addressed, and the skills I aquired gave me an excellent foundation for work in the field of programming and software design. Hope College has given me a first-class education for both my professional and personal roles in life. I was a Computer Science major with an English minor, and I found the ability to interface with technology and the ability to communicate in writing are both essential skills for the information age.”
Emily (Tennant) Lynema (2003) is the Systems Librarian for Digital Projects at North Carolina State University Libraries. She received her masters in Information Science at the University of Michigan with specialization in Library and Information Services.
“I'm one of the few librarians out there who has experience with real programming languages. That gives me a unique opportunity to work on developing and enhancing applications that serve the library community. The C.S. department at Hope tries to teach you how to learn new things, and that's something I have to do nearly every day. My experience at Hope helped make me a more well-rounded individual. Reading, writing and presenting are things I do on a regular basis at my job, and I practiced these skills both in and out of the classroom while at Hope.”
Jeff Penney (1999) is a Senior Consultant for Sogeti USA, a consulting firm in Chicago.
“The Hope College Computer Science department did a great job of preparing me technically for a software development position. While many of my peers at Software Architects were just learning Java in 1999 I was already an expert with three years of Java experience. While at Hope I also gained a lot of experience working in groups on small and large projects. This experience was very helpful when I was placed at clients where I needed to fit in fast and hit the ground running. Hope provided me with a good mix of knowledge, technology and enjoyment. I am also grateful for the life-long friends I made while attending Hope.”
Thomas Van Wynen (1980) is the webmaster for Wycliffe Bible Translators.
“At Hope College I got experience in a wide range of languages, and a good background in how systems work which has made learning all the new systems that have come out since much easier. The team projects at Hope were probably the most useful learning situations. They are the most like real life working situations.”
Jerald Schoudt (1995) is a Software Architect and Engineer with IBM Research. His team is based in Alamaden, California, but he works from his home in Pennsylvania.
“I was at Hope at an interesting time. There were many exciting things happening in the CS world as the internet really took off. The excitement of the students and the insight of the faculty helped me prepare to go out and participate in these exciting things. I think the environment around discovery and undergraduate research at Hope really fosters adventurous and forward thinking. I also think that Hope had enough faculty that were grounded in real-world experience to allow students to understand the limitations that people were facing with technology and see how to break through some of those limitations.”
Laura Grit (2001) works for Amazon.com. She completed her Ph.D. in computer science at Duke University in 2007.
“The classes I took in the Computer Science department helped prepare me for the classes that I took in graduate school. I also learned core coding techniques that I use throughout my research. Coming from a liberal arts background, I am more well rounded than many of my peers. I tend to have better speaking, managing, and writing skills. I also have a better understanding/appreciation of how computer science is critical to other fields.”
David Boundy (1979) is a patent attorney for Cantor Fitzgerald LP in Boston. In addition to receiving his J.D. degree from Columbia University, he also has an M.S. in Computer and Communication Science from the University of Michigan. He worked as a computer engineer in the Boston area for many years prior to entering the law profession.
“Because the Computer Science department cooperated closely with the mathematics and physics departments, I ended up taking a lot of those courses as well. I use the mathematical skills regularly - in any field, and especially law, it's incredibly valuable to be able to translate the real world into the language of mathematics, do my experiments on the equations or mathematical model, and then translate the mathematics back into a prediction about the future of the real world. It's valuable to be able to quantify the level of confidence I can place in that prediction.”
Josiah Dykstra (2002) is a Global Network Exploitation and Vulnerability Analyst at the National Security Agency. He received his masters degree in information assurance at Iowa State University with support from a Cyber Corps Fellowship.
“I firmly believe that a well-rounded foundation in computer science is key to success in any specialty of the field, be it graphics design or security or technical support. My courses at Hope made me curious particularly about networking. However, my coursework in algorithms, programming and theory is applicable to my work every day. My four years at Hope helped develop me as a person, and formed friendships that I maintain to this day. Instead of only having a computer science perspective on life, I have found that a liberal arts background has given me the breadth and depth to understand and participate actively in my world. My position in the intelligence community requires that I collaborate with many others, and understand their perspectives to ensure our safety as a nation.”
Douglas Van Wieren (1988) is a Research Fellow in Applied Physics at Harvard University. He also helped to establish the Sarajevo School of Science and Technology. He has a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Michigan.
“I can recall with great clarity much of what went on in my undergraduate career at Hope. I think I would be remiss if I didn't point out that I wasn't always the best student. The instructors went above and beyond to reach me, and, if I took away anything, that particular example was the most important.I've tried lately to reflect on the some of the other things that my professors tried to teach me that I'm not sure I learned properly. Little things --- like integrity, character, etc. And there were very active qualities that various professors tried to instill in me: being gracious, having an open mind, etc. I have to quickly admit that I'm probably a better person than I would have been if I had not gone to Hope. If the question is, Did I benefit from attending Hope, the answer is a resounding yes.”
Lilyana Mihalkova (2003) is a pursuing a Ph.D. in Computer Science with an focus on Machine Learning at The University of Texas at Austin.
“My experience in the Hope CS department has been very helpful to me in several ways. Apart from being able to take courses in the core areas of computer science, I had the opportunity to take independent study courses with individual professors in some more specific fields. I also highly value the summer research program in which I participated as it prepared me for grad school. Many of the courses I took at Hope required me to write essays on a variety of topics and to give frequent presentations. I have come to greatly value the skills I acquired in these classes because being able to write and present one's ideas is extremely important for someone aspiring for an academic career.”
Dave Mitchell (1982) is the CEO and President of Computer Human Interaction, LLC, a Seattle-based company that develops Design-Visualize-Order applications to support clients’ marketing efforts.
“Hope prepared me for my current position by offering both a technical and management set of educational experiences. My education at Hope also prepared me for both work and life by virtue of the ethics and life-skills.”
Ben Hilldore (2004) is a software engineer with Lockheed Martin and recently completed his masters degree in computer science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
“The field of computer science is so broad that it's impossible to learn everything that you need to know for later on.The Hope CS department does a good job of realizing this and instead focuses on some key aspects of computer science and most importantly on how to quickly learn any new concept.”
Darrick Brown (1996) is a Technology Lead at VideoEgg, Inc. in San Francisco. He held prior positions with Macromedia, Adobe, and Everything Development.
“The Hope College Computer Science department provided challenging and engaging classes, but I think the ‘open door’ policy of the CS department had a very positive effect as well. The computer labs were always open to CS majors for almost anything you wanted to do and the Hope CS faculty encouraged you to make use of the facilities. The Hope CS education gave me a fantastic base of knowledge and the access to the computing resources allowed me to work on my own projects. This combination of education and experience gave me the skillset to land an exciting job before I even graduated. Hope College and the Computer Science department challenged me and provided me with the environment and resources to help me grow my skills. It was a combination of education, opportunties, and having the right people around. Both my fellow CS students and the Hope CS faculty contributed to the creative environment. The Hope Computer Science department provided a solid education and a fantastic environment for building my knowledge and experience.”