Congrats to CSCI 115 Hackathon Winners!

Dr. Munsells’ CSCI 115  students participated in an in-class Hackathon. In the website design class, students were challenged to develop a Pixar Renderman webpage within 1 hour and 20 minutes.

The results are in! Congratulations to Team Blue Community: Cris Segundo, Ian Plotnick, Jaclyn McKelvey, Jessica Rabon, and John Bleacher!

Team Blue Community completed their Pixar webpage in the shortest amount of time with the highest score (91%).

Scoring was based on how well the webpage matched the provided webpage. Scoring criteria included: layout (structure), format (colors, fonts, etc.), content (images, text, links, etc.), and W3 validation (HTML and CSS) checks.

Check out Team Blue Community’s work: Screenshot 2013-11-21 16.35.24

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Employer Spotlight: Annex Studio

Meet Annex Studio! “Annex is an integrated branding, graphic design, and web development firm in Charleston, SC”. The Annex Team: Brad, Jason, Geoffrey, and Colin are all graduates from the College of Charleston. Brad is a 2012 graduate from the Computer Science Department with a BS in Computer Science. After re-connecting with Annex at Pecha Kucha, Brad offered the CS Department valuable insights on Annex Studio’s startup development, lessons learned, and advice for current students.

annex-studio

Who is the team behind Annex Studio? 

Born in 1987 in Atlanta, GA, Jason Emory Parker had a keen interest in science and technology from a young age. After relocating with his family to Greenville, SC, he spent most of his middle and high school years learning about web design and development. He got his start at serious web development in the easily 00′s helping to administer a popular discussion forum run by technology host and author, Leo Laporte. In 2006, he left home to attended the College of Charleston where he earned a B.S. in Biology. While at the College, he spent much of his free time working at the campus newspaper and would go on to build Cisternyard.com, a student-run multimedia news and information portal. After graduating in 2010, he moved briefly to South Korea to teach English before returning to Charleston to work at a research lab at MUSC. In 2013, he became a founding partner in Annex Studio, LLC. His interests include science fiction, journalism, analysis of pop culture phenomena, and baked goods.

Geoffrey W. Yost is a communications specialist in Charleston, S.C., and an expert in digital strategy. Geoff has held major leadership roles in several fields, relying on his expertise in design, media, marketing, public relations, and event planning. He has helped plan high stakes political events, including the 57th Presidential Inauguration, President Obama’s 2012 Election Night celebration in Chicago, and the 2012 Democratic National Convention. He has also worked in communications at a D.C.­based trade association and on South Carolina political campaigns. An accomplished graduate of the College of Charleston, Geoff was the editor­-in-­chief of the College’s student newspaper, majoring in Communications and Political Science.

Colin Johnson is a Denver native, and a junior in the Arts Management Department at CofC. Currently acting as the photography editor for Cisternyard News at student media, Colin manages a small staff to produce images for print and online distribution. Outside of the college, he works as a freelance photographer, having contracted with local designers and national corporations alike. In 2013, Colin became a founder of Annex Studio, LLC with three partners, all graduates of the College of Charleston. When he isn’t in school or at the office, Colin enjoys music, cigars and fine gastronomy.

 Bradley M. Woods, an accomplished student leader, graduated cum laude from the College of Charleston in 2012 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science. His experience as an analyst and project leader at a top tier software development firm, as well as his college work has allowed him to acquire proficiency in many languages including Java, Python, SQL, and PHP. Brad has assisted with the development of CLForJava, as well as contributing to several other open source projects including Shotwell. In 2013, Brad co-founded Annex Studio, LLC. Brad’s interests include responsive design, politics, and music.

 What prompted the formation of Annex Studio?

In the Fall of 2011, Jason and Geoff first discussed the possibility of starting their own business. Geoff’s entry into politics pushed back the timeline through early 2013. In March, Jason and Geoff resumed discussing the idea, bringing Colin and myself into the fold shortly thereafter. Formally incorporated on May 29, 2013, Annex Studio proceeded to quickly acquire its first client, and the business has continued to operate since.

From the beginning, our motivation to start our own business stemmed from the desire to work for ourselves. This allows for the maximum amount of creative and professional freedom. A strong desire of each of us.

How did you take the plunge into starting your own business?

Originally, our biggest concern was funding. We investigated several options for loans, lines of credit, and an office space. After some further research, we realized that we didn’t need any of these things. With minimal capital injection, we would be able to legally incorporate, and acquire the software necessary to operate without having to take on debt or look for investors.

This means that for time being, we do business after our day jobs and on the weekends. We decided that we were more comfortable giving up more of our time, rather than taking on a large financial burden, and were prepared to start the company this way.

We spent some time with a local lawyer, who helped us straighten out an operating agreement and square away our paperwork with the state.

What experiences at the College of Charleston formed a foundation for what you are doing today?

Each of us gained a great deal of experience while working at the student media organization on campus. At various points through his college career, Geoff was the PR Director for CofC Radio, General Manager of CofC Radio, Editor in Chief of the George Street Observer, and Chairman of Cougar Media Network.

Jason started as a volunteer at Cougar Television. He was then a Producer at Cougar Television, then the Director of Online Publishing for Cougar Television. Colin is the current Photography Editor for The Yard magazine. I (Brad) started as Beat Writer, covering the Student Government Association, and was later the Advertising General Manager for Cougar Media Network.

Each of these experiences exposed us to various opportunities that refined our creative skills in various ways. I already had technical experience from my ongoing education, but I learned a great deal about sales, design, and management through my advertising position. Jason created one of the previous iterations of cisternyard.com (available at old.cisternyard.com) singlehandedly, combining technical and design work. Colin expanded on his already impressive photography skills and acquired new skills in visual design. Geoff learned everything the rest of us learned combined.

Looking back were there personal projects that you worked on outside of the classroom that helped you with resume building and professional development?

The four of us worked on many projects through student media that led us to where we are today. All of our projects there have helped to build or resumes. Furthermore, I helped to flesh out the technical side of my resume with my independent study, and Bachelor’s essay (Outside the classroom, technically, but still classes)..

What advice would you pass on to Computer Science students that are preparing to graduate and apply for jobs?

There are two things all Computer Science students should do before they graduate. Coincidentally, these are two things that I did not do, and they bit me in the end.

  • The first and most important thing all CS students should do is to take on internships in Computer Science. Real world experience with programming is immensely helpful when out searching for jobs. One of the biggest concerns employers had with my resume was my lack of internship experience. I did internships, but they would have looked much better on an application for a job in hospitality and tourism management. On more than one occasion, a company told me that they really liked my resume, and that I interviewed very well, but my lack of internship experience was why I did not get the job.
  • Secondly, all CS students should take a class on databases. I didn’t know that databases would be important, and the class wasn’t required, so I didn’t take it. This was another major hurdle for me when looking for job. In every single job I applied for, the technical interviewer asked how much I knew about databases or SQL. The only thing I could say was that I really didn’t know much about it at all. I don’t have concrete evidence for the importance of this, as I do for the first point, but I am fairly confident that my lack of SQL knowledge was detrimental to me finding a job.

A Special Thanks to Annex Studio!

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Employer Spotlight: Drew Johnson Co-Owner of App Partner

This summer Dr. Anderson and CS students had the opportunity to visit tech industry leaders and successful start-ups in New York. One exciting stop on the list included App Partner Development based out of Brooklyn, New York. Drew Johnson, Co-Owner of App Partner Development graciously hosted our students. Drew’s entrepreneurial expertise and ability to monopolize on a tech niche are qualities that have made him our current Employer Spotlight.

Drew_JohnsonWe asked Drew to give us some insight into his company and career as an entrepreneur in the tech industry. Check out our Q&A with Drew -

1) Describe the moment that you decided you would like to start a mobile application development company. What was the deciding factor?

I had just gotten back from Spring Break my Junior year (2009). My roommate Justin LeClair had just received the download data for an Xbox app called Rumble Massage that he had developed a few months earlier, and he wanted me to take a look at it. After a few minutes I realized he must have wanted to brag because it was pretty obvious that he had gotten almost 500,000 free downloads and $60,000 worth of in-app purchase sales.

After that we started doing more research into the digital download market and became convinced the market was going to blow up. We spent the rest of our time in college launching apps on the Xbox marketplace with varying success. By the time we graduated we had saved up enough to last 9 months in New York.

2) What were your prior experiences in mobile app development that best prepared you to start App Partner?

When we started App Partner in the summer of 2011 we already had two years of experience developing original games for the Xbox and iPhone. We had become very good at developing high-quality and creative games on a budget and we had the portfolio to back it up. So from a product perspective it was pretty easy for us to hit the ground running with our initial clients.

From a business perspective though we had absolutely zero experience when it came to things like hiring/managing employees, business development, and managing client accounts. That was the biggest challenge for us initially but we just kept working at until we got to a point where all of those systems were in place.

3) How does your company keep up with a technology industry that is always changing?

We browse the featured sections of the App Store to see what’s new, keep up with industry news through websites and blogs, and also attend industry events.

4) What are some of your current App Developments that you are particularly excited about?

We’ve recently started working on a few geo-centric social networking apps that are looking to connect advertisers with customers that are physically close to their stores. It’s an exciting segment of the mobile market so we’re excited to see how these projects turn out. For example imagine the McDonalds around the corner sending a push notification to your phone that said “It’s hot out there! Here’s $2 off a McFlurry. We’re just a block away!”

5) What is one lesson learned that you would pass onto students who are interested in pursuing entrepreneurship in the tech world?

It may sound cliche but don’t let failure get to you. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve failed at trying to solve a problem. The only way to make consistent progress is to set a goal and just keep working at it until you achieve it.

A Special Thank You to Drew Johnson for his Q&A. Don’t forget to check out App Partner Development! 

AppPartnerlogo

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Student Spotlight: Baptiste Emmanuel

The Computer Science Department is pleased to have Baptiste Emmanuel with us for three months this summer. Baptiste is from the Universite de la Rochelle in La Rochelle, France. This summer he is completing an exciting internship with Chris Starr, the Chair of the Computer Science Department.

Baptiste

We asked Baptiste to give us some insight into his internship. Here is what he had to say:

Why did you choose to intern in the Computer Science Department at CofC?

 I chose the Computer Science Department at CofC because my English teacher has a partnership with Dr. Starr. Each year she sends a student to CofC, and I really wanted to come. I wanted to have an experience in America and I was very happy to be chosen.

Can you share a little about the project you are working on for your internship in the department?

The project that I am working on is called CDAR (Charleston Digitally Assisted Recycling). It’s a project that Dr. Starr started last year with another student from La Rochelle. The project combines a microcontroller, sensors, and a mobile app to bring a new level of intelligence to recycling programs. Basically, we are developing a system that captures data from sensors to predict when recycling bins will reach full capacity. Predictions for bins are accessed through the mobile app. We recently started the first Beta testing. I am currently working on furthering the prototype for the device.

What has been your favorite thing about studying in Charleston?

 It’s been great for me to improve my English and experience a new culture. People here are very friendly! I also really enjoy the CDAR project that I am working on for Dr. Starr. I have freedom to explore new ideas and I am gaining valuable experience.

What advice would you give to future International Students who plan to come study or work in the Computer Science Department at the College of Charleston?

 I would definitely recommend sailing with Dr. Starr! Try to improve your English and don’t be afraid to speak with other people. Living with roommates is fun and new for me too! Roommates definitely help with meeting people. Also, if you have the opportunity to travel to other cities in America then go! I will be taking a trip at the end of this month to San Francisco with some faculty and students from the department. I can’t wait!

Can you share a bit about the exciting San Francisco trip with the department?

 Dr. Starr is hosting the trip and I am going with two or three other students and another professor. We will be in San Francisco for one week. I am so excited to have the opportunity to visit Google and Facebook. We will meet up with some Alumni from the department who work there. I hope to make some new connections, and I would love to meet Mark Zuckerberg of course. I’ve heard that we look alike.

What do y’all think, does Baptiste look like Mark Zuckerberg? Stay tuned for a future blog post about their trip to San Francisco!  

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BarCampCHS 2012

Last Saturday, the College of Charleston hosted the 4th annual BarCampCHS conference. Many of our Computer Science students attended this unique conference featuring a variety of speakers and topics. Unlike traditional discipline meetings, the content of BarCampCHS is decided not by the coordinators, but by the participators. It is a time to share and learn from those in your field, and even those who are not, as it encompasses everything from digital artists, entrepreneurs, writers, and designers. BarCampCHS boasts a community driven environment and a great opportunity to network and interact with old and new friends. Our students and faculty love it, and are already looking forward to next year! Thanks to Logan Edwards for the great pictures. Here are some highlights:

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Interview with Boeing Scholarship – Chad Hobbs

The Computer Science Department is very proud to announce 2012-2013 recipient of the Boeing Scholarship, one of our own, Chad Hobbs! The Boeing Scholarship awards $2,500 to four students each academic year. We sat down with Chad to ask him more about himself, and the significance of this excellent honor!

Name: Chad Hobbs

Graduation Year: 2014

Hometown: Tipp City, Ohio

High School Attended: Tippecanoe High School

What made you decide to come to the College of Charleston?
The College of Charleston has been a perfect match for me. Ever since I took a tour of the campus and saw how great the Computer Science department is, there really wasn’t any other choice. The combination of location, instructor quality, and connection to the industry convinced me to get a degree at the College of Charleston.

Why did you decide to major in Computer Science?
I have had a love and aptitude for programming from an early age. Some of my friends had convinced me to try out Electrical Engineering initially and I found out right away that it just wasn’t as interesting as Computer Science. Majoring in CS has really stretched my ability to think critically and creatively to solve a wide variety of real-world problems.

Tell me about your favorite project you’ve worked on or been part of in the Computer Science department.
What I have really enjoyed while attending the College of Charleston has been the many extra-curricular events that have been sponsored by the Computer Science department. Being able to take part in field trips to local tech businesses, enjoying creative conferences like Barcamp, and competing in coding competitions all make me feel like a part of the community.

How will the Boeing Scholarship help you with your academic career at the College of Charleston?
The Boeing Scholarship will be able to help me focus more on my classwork and less on how I pay for my classes. Since I did not enter college straight out of high school, there have not been as many financial opportunities presented to me. To be able to find a great local company like Boeing that has scholarship programs such as theirs will help me succeed during and after my college career.

Do you have any plans for after you graduate? Any ideas of paths you’d like to pursue?
What really interests me is embedded systems. I like to use small micro-controllers and add programming logic to them to automate certain processes. They can be cheap, power-efficient, and easy to adapt to a lot of uses. They can be great for controlling autonomous drones, remote sensing stations, or wearable electronics. Companies like Boeing have been expanding their development of drones and that is an industry I could see myself in.

What’s your favorite part about living and going to school in Charleston?
I love downtown Charleston! Most of the things you would ever need are just a short walk away, and the campus is right in the middle of it all. The beaches are great, the food is excellent, and I get to attend an incredible school that is at the heart of downtown.

Anything else you want to share about your experience at the College of Charleston, in the Computer Science Department, or about receiving the Boeing Scholarship?
I would just like to say that there is an abundance of opportunity to be involved and to be successful at the College of Charleston. Do your best to communicate with teachers, advisors, and other students about academic and extra-curricular events that will provide valuable experience and enjoyment at the College. The Computer Science department and local companies like Boeing are here to help turn Charleston into something more than just a great place on the coast!

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Grace Hopper Conference 2012

Three CofC computer science majors recently returned from the 2012 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Baltimore, MD. The students: Lee Blackwell, Joye Nettles and Nadia Rodriguez were among 3000 technical students and professionals who attended the three-day event that included technical paper sessions, panels, workshops, interview opportunities that span the field of computing. Nadia comments:

“I really enjoyed the conference and I would recommend it to anyone in the technology field. My favorite session was the one presented by Lili Cheng, from Microsoft, entitled “Creativity, Learning and Social Software.” It was interesting to hear her story she is now a General Manager at Microsoft, after starting her career as an architect. Her presentation was on Kodu, software that allows kids to program a game with little to no knowledge of programming. Her team’s goal, for Kodu, is to inspire children’s interest in technology.”

Lee & Joye reported similar excitement after their return. Through her conference experience, Joye discovered a new area of computer science that she hopes to study, and Lee had three job interviews!

In the pictures below, on a break from the conference, Lee and Nadia consider visiting Ripley’s Believe it or Not, while Joye considers visiting Oriole Park, the home of the Baltimore Orioles.

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Graduate Studies at University of North Carolina at Charlotte

The College of Computing and Informatics (CCI) at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is looking for talented students to pursue graduate studies in computing. The college has a vibrant and nationally competitive research program. Our faculty explore a rich set of research projects ranging from fundamental discovery to society and industry driven innovations in many areas of computing, including: robotics, artificial intelligence, complex systems, computer vision, data mining, information visualization and visual analytics, human-centered computing, privacy and security, pervasive computing, and networking.  Through the Graduate School, we offer a variety of graduate degree options, including M.S. and Ph.D. and graduate certificate programs. Our graduate computing program is ranked in the Top 100 by U.S. News and World Report.

We will host students from across the region to attend GRAD 2012, a two day program designed to introduce promising undergraduates and master’s students to the possibilities of graduate school and the research opportunities available within the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Software and Information Systems at UNC Charlotte.  We are interested in recruiting curious and talented students with strong technical skills in Computer Science, Computational Science, Engineering, Information Sciences, Information Technology, Mathematics, or related disciplines to our graduate programs.

What: Graduate Research and Academic Discovery (GRAD 2012)
When: Friday, November 9 — Saturday, November 10
Where: University of North Carolina at Charlotte, College of Computing and Informatics
Details: Lodging for Thursday and Friday nights and all meals will be provided. Transportation to Charlotte is the responsibility of the student; however, travel costs up to $50 can be reimbursed for out-of-area students.

Students can find more information about this event and apply to attend GRAD 2012 at http://www.ccigrad.uncc.edu. The deadline for student applications for this event is October 31. If you or any of your students have any further questions, please feel free to contact Professor Jamie Payton at payton@uncc.edu.

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CIRDLES releases new versions of Dr. Bowring’s software.

The Cyber Infrastructure Research and Development Lab for the Earth Sciences (CIRDLES.org) and EARTHTIME (earth-time.org) today released important new versions of Dr. Bowring’s software products Tripoli and U-Pb_Redux, which together provide geochronologists in the US and internationally with state-of-the-art automation for data-handling, workflow management, publication, and cloud-based archiving that meets NSF’s standards. Details are available here.

Direct inquiries to bowringj AT cofc.edu.

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