But the exciting things they do are not just with computers. Computer science majors at Wheaton represent a vast array of interests. They have second majors in mathematics, chemistry, physics, archeology, English, German, and communications. They play in jazz bands, play the bag pipes, play semi-professional football, spend semesters abroad, and work on hybrid cars.
Between their freshman and sophomore years, Drew Hannay, Alisa Maas, and Andrew Wolfe (all 2013) were interested in digging into app development for Android and iPhone devices. The trio produced a useful tool for people on campus to use to search the student directory, view daily menus of the dining hall, get the chapel schedule, and have access to other campus information. Their experience was useful not only to students but to the CSCI faculty as well who found them a valuable resource as mobile computing was being worked into the curriculum. Their curiosity and initiative was noticed by prospective employers as well, as they all later enjoyed summer internship opportunities. Now having graduated, both Drew and Andrew are working at Logos Bible Software and Andrew at; Alisa will start a graduate program in Computer Science at U Wisconsin-Madison fall 2013.
John Charles Bauschatz (2012) came to Wheaton to study archeology, but he quickly became interested in programming, as well. He enjoys working on software that supports his other interests. When he began learning to play the guitar he realized how useful a computer program could be to compute chords and fingerings, so he wrote one that exhaustively computes how to produce chords on a guitar fretboard. Later, while taking biblical Hebrew, he wrote a program to quiz a user on Hebrew vocabulary and morphology. As John Charles knows, one of the most fulfilling parts of a project is that if the developer finds it useful, it's likely that someone else will, too. He currently works at FIS Global.
Brothers Chris Ewert '05 and Andrew Ewert '09 graduated from Wheaton with degrees in Computer Science. Now they work on converting hybrid vehicles into plug-in hybrid vehicles which can be recharged from an external power source such as the electrical grid. These cars plug in and fully charge while not in use, after which they can drive for the first 20-30 miles purely on electricity. Chris and Andrew work on designing the components that allow after market conversions from hybrid to plug-in hybrid without damaging the car or the batteries. They have been able to get their Toyota Prius up to 70 MPH on electric drive alone---something that had not been done previously with this model.
A HNGR For Service
As a computer science major, David Santoso (2011) wanted his work to be an act of service. He was able to take his skills and use them effectively in the Human Needs and Global Resources (HNGR) program at the college. David's HNGR field experience in the summer and fall of 2010 at the Christian Bilingual University of Congo (in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) included teaching basic computer skills and introductory programming, as well as improving the computer lab and developing the university website. David now works at Opportunity International.
She Made the Switch
Computer science wasn't on her radar when Lily Briggs (2011) arrived at Wheaton, but as a math major she had a programming requirement that she took the fall of her sophomore year. She had found her place; she switched majors to computer science. She enjoys the creative expression and puzzle-solving involved in computer science and how it parallels well her many other interests, from fractals to chess. She is now in a computer science graduate program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Computer Science and Communication
We know that science majors benefit from a computing background, but what about communications majors? Michael Toy (2011) was a communications major, but as a computer science minor he was heavily involved in the program's community. He is now a studying theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. It may seem his path has taken him far from computer science, but he finds lasting value in his computer science background as it has trained him to think formally and rigorously At seminary, he has even found unexpected parallels between theological and programming concepts. Similarly, Elizabeth Wilhoit (2009), now a communications Ph.D. student at Purdue University, found that her two semesters of programming has helped her develop problem solving and logical thinking skills and that are still helpful when writing papers and making academic arguments. The teamwork aspect of paired programming also gave her valuable experience doing creative work in groups.
During her time as a computer science major at Wheaton, Kendal Park (2012) knew how important a sense of community is to an academic program. She worked hard to see the computer science majors become a coherent community by organizing a weekly computer science dinner and ocasional movie nights, welcoming newcomers into the major, serving as an effective teaching assistant, as well as pulling an April Fools' prank or two. She did this on top of the demands of being a college athlete (track and field) and on the pre-med track. She also played defensive end for the St Louis Slam, a semi-pro women's tackle football team (2009 National Champions). Currently she works as a web programmer for Concordia Publishing House in St. Louis and continues to play for the Slam.
First Trust is an investment mangagment firm in the town of Wheaton that has an appetite for students who have come through Wheaton's computer science program. Grant Tregay (1999) has worked there since 2005, and recent grads Daniel Opdyke (2012) Zeke Hernandez (2013) have found their place there as well. Chet Mancini (2010) found it to be a great first experience in software development; he later went on to get a Masters in Engineering in computer science at Cornell and currently works as a software engineer at Intent Media.
New Pillar of Science
People used to cite theory and experimentation as the pillars of science; now computation is widely recognized as the third pillar. David Hollman and Joe Michalka (both 2009) experienced this firsthand as each of them double-majored in computer science and chemistry. As competent computer scientists, the chemistry faculty members like Dr. Becky Eggiman found them to be priceless resources for undergraduate research opportunities. This experience prepared them for the graduate work in computational chemistry David at the University of Georgia (completed PhD 2013) and Joe at the University of Notre Dame (Ph.D. work ongoing). David Pedersen, a current CSCI-CHEM double major, may follow a similar route.
A Springboard to Great Things
Math majors who take their required CSCI class during their senior year always say they wish they'd taken it earlier. Math majors who take it early often end up minoring in computer science (if they don't switch majors altogether). A CSCI minor with a math major can propel students to great math graduate programs---like Grace Work (2007) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Sarah Cobb (2009) at the University of Utah---or careers in the software industry---like Jason Peterson (2012), now a Java programmer at Accenture.