computer science Alumni Spotlight
I graduated from Saint Xavier University in 2016 with a computer science degree. I'm currently employed at a not-for-profit organization called The Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind. My company specializes in finding jobs for blind and disabled people, along with mentoring programs to provide additional assistance in coping with any disabilities. A year and a half ago, the company opened a call center to receive all of the calls for University of Illinois Health hospitals. I was hired as a junior systems analyst and am currently tasked with developing a content management system for their call center employees to centralize all their resources/production tools for quicker reference than the system they currently have. So far, it has been a very intriguing experience, and I am looking forward to the continued development on this project.
Saint Xavier University provided me with a very individualized, focused education. Because of the small class sizes, I was able to receive an abundance of one-on-one time with teachers and tutors. The Computer Science Department's focus is to give students a general understanding of the computer science field as a whole, allowing students to choose their own path for the future whether that is web development, software engineering, database administration, etc. I truly do believe that the fundamentals of the department and the University is what contributed to my immediate success out of college. I would implore anyone interested in pursing a college degree to should enroll into classes at Saint Xavier University. If the student puts in the effort, the University will allow him/her to thrive in both the educational and professional environments.
Job Title: Junior Project Manager
Company: Dialysis Clinic, Inc.
Undergraduate SXU Major: Computer Science and Business Management
How did your major prepare you for the job you are in?
Saint Xavier University provided me with a solid foundation that allowed me to adapt to the quickly changing IT field. Essentially, the programs train you in how to think!
Well it has been almost a year and a half now since I graduated and I must say the "adult" life is quite exciting. I graduated SXU with a B.A. in Computer Studies and a minor in Business. The minor has helped me significantly when applying for jobs, interviewing and communicating with co-workers. After spending three semesters in the accounting program I decided it was time for me to switch to what I loved doing and that is how I found myself in the Computer Studies program.
A couple of months before graduation I started applying for jobs. Honestly I was extremely nervous about this process. After three rounds of interviews at a local nonprofit named Rescigno's Marketing Connections, I was hired as a data specialist/in-house IT support specialist and began training in the final months of my college career. My first official day was the Monday after graduation and I couldn't have been more excited. Over the next year I gained a vast amount of knowledge including mail software, server implementation and management, customer communication and so much more. I am so thankful for that experience because it only pushed me to be where I am at now.
In May of 2015 I left Rescigno's Marketing Connections and started a two month adventure of a lifetime. I visited my best friend and college roommate of two and a half years, Mark Meurer, in Gothenburg, Sweden. I spent the month of May touring Gothenburg, meeting great people and sampling new cuisine. On June 3rd, Mark and I left on a four week journey throughout Eastern and Western Europe. Our trip took us places such as Italy, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany and England. It was the experience of a lifetime and I recommend to all college graduates to take a trip outside of the U.S., I promise you won't regret it.
After I arrived back in the U.S. at the beginning of August I was once again on the hunt for the next step of my career. I was fortunate enough to be found by a recruiter who connected me with the Chicago Theological Seminary. I interviewed for IT systems administrator, and I am so grateful to have been hired. I couldn't be happier with the people I work with, the knowledge I am able to apply from my previous experiences, the new things I am learning, and the foundation I am building for myself. I am beyond excited for what the future of my career holds in store
Without the building blocks that SXU instilled in me, I would not be where I am today. I am eternally indebted to the professors that taught me, the classmates I collaborated with, and the learning environment SXU provided during my studies.
I graduated Saint Xavier with no idea what I wanted to do in my future. It was only a month before graduation that I discovered that I would be attending a university in Sweden for my master's degree in software engineering. Throughout my studies at SXU, I always thought the education was lacking and progressed slowly. I thought that everyone else must be further ahead, and I would be very far behind. However, at a top European-technology school, I realized that I couldn't have been more wrong. I feel that I am easily excelling in my program because of the knowledge I gained at SXU. And because of SXU's great program, I feel that I am able to now spend less time on my studies and more time learning the language, traveling and embracing new cultures.
SXU gave me more than just a great education. It gave me friends and connections that will last a lifetime. I am having the time of my life in Sweden and because of my education, I have received many job offers from multiple international employers. I wouldn't have had any of these opportunities if it wasn't for SXU. My plans for after my master's studies are to start a business or continue my studies at the doctoral level.
As the first in my family to go to college, I had no idea what I was looking for in a school. I always passed on college fairs and open houses because I was afraid of not knowing what to look for or what kinds of questions I should be asking the recruiters. Having graduated from Brother Rice it just seemed like an easy decision to go to SXU because I had already been traveling the same way for four years. To me, college was just going to be the continuation of high school, but my college experience ended up being so much more.
My freshman year of college was spent doing a lot of soul searching; I changed my mind about my major at least four different times before finally deciding on computer science. I asked myself the question "what field can I go into where no matter what position I have, I will enjoy myself?" And for me, the answer to that question was being involved in technology. I love the concept of technology: how rapidly it changes and evolves, how it simplifies and enhances our lives in theory, and how much opportunity and money there is to be made in this field.
During my undergrad I always wondered, "When am I ever going to use this material? How does what I am learning now translate into transferable skills for a real job? Am I really learning what I need to know?" and what I ended up finding out the closer I got to graduation was that everything you learn is useful only if you know how to apply it. College professors are not the same as high school teachers; it is not their job to make sure you don't have to go to summer school. They are tools available to you to help you succeed in whatever you are trying to accomplish, be that completing a degree, taking an extra course because your boss asked you to, or simply wanting to learn more about a particular subject. It is also not a professor's job to personally care about each and every individual student they have in class. But in my experience, that is exactly what happened with the faculty in this computer science program. I felt like each professor I had wanted me to exceed, and not just to pass their course, but because they received joy out of seeing students reach that "ah-ha" moment.
I truly believe that what you get out of class is what you put into it, and if you make that effort, you will get the knowledge and understanding you need to apply for any tech job you could want. I am currently employed at SXU as the lab director for the computer science department and working towards my MACS degree.
Saint Xavier University was the first school I visited on my search for the right college, and the last. I became involved in the computer science department as well as many other areas of the university --from IT intern to orientation leader to peer mentor for first-year students. Through the computer science department I was able to attend the Grace Hopper Convention in Baltimore my senior year, and I was able to see that women have a strong and growing presence in the computer science world. This department also provided me with many different experiences that have benefited me in my life after college.
I graduated in 2013 with a B.S. in computer science and in psychology. I currently work at a software company, and although I am not involved directly with the programming of the software, I am able to discuss bugs and enhancements with the developers with a greater knowledge than had I not graduated with a computer science degree. I look forward to possibly increasing my knowledge in this field by going back to school for a master's one day.
Just three weeks after graduating from Saint Xavier University in December 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, I was offered a full-time position at the headquarters of Enlivant in River North, Chicago. Enlivant is an assisted living community with over 150 properties nationwide. I have been working at Enlivant as a business intelligence developer since, and could not be happier. Along with on-the-job training by working with my supervisor, a long time Microsoft project manager from the west coast, I also have had numerous opportunities to attend formal training with the hottest Business Intelligence software on the market, such as the Microsoft Business Intelligence Suite and Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition. In my first year as a full-time BI developer, I have worked on a team of three to create a data warehouse from the ground up, fine-tuned my programming skills, learned how to build, schedule, and support reports, build and support packages, and enhanced my business analyst skills. Having just completed my first year as a full-time employee, I know the successes I have and compliments I receive from management do not come from just the hard work I put into it, but from everyone who has helped me get to where I am today.
While most would think going to a small, private institution does not get you noticed during the application/interview process- I found that it is just the opposite. I started my college career at UIC and after talking to two of my sisters that are both graduates of Saint Xavier University, I learned that the opportunities available to me at Saint Xavier University were much better. Not only did I receive multiple grants and scholarships to help financially, but walking into a classroom where everyone knows each other's names, including the professors, has benefits you can never get at a large institution. The smaller classroom setting allows for cohorts to form, where you learn to work on a team, whether a group project or just studying for finals. I also had invaluable opportunity to receive the National Science Foundation Scholarship which allowed me to attend multiple conferences with the biggest names in technology, such as the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing. I also found this was a major factor in getting the attention of recruiters in the application process. Interning at Smith Senior Living, another opportunity through the computer science program at SXU, also helped me get noticed by my current employer not only for technical skills gained while there, but they appreciate the fact that I already had worked for an organization with a similar mission, visions, and values.
I have learned that the same benefits and opportunities available to me at a small university are the same on a small IT team. I do not stick to one or two job duties, but get to wear multiple hats and become the expert for multiple software and skills.
Other than working towards a promotion for a senior level developer position, I am looking forward to getting married in the early fall this year. I could not thank my parents, fiancé, friends, family, previous bosses, and of course the professors at Saint Xavier University enough for the encouragement and support. I would not be where I am today without each and every one of their help and support.
As I graduated from Saint Xavier in 2008, I was not sure on what kind of education I really received. I felt as if I learned a little about a lot of various technologies and skill but nothing concrete which I felt would make me an expert in the real world. The reality was completely opposite. Ever since I graduated, I have found the education I received to be head and shoulders above what I have seen from graduates of other universities and it gave me exactly the skills I needed to excel in my career. I graduated with a bachelor's degree in computer science and mathematics and looking back on what I learned at Saint Xavier, I couldn't be happier with it. It gave me the skills I needed so I can pick what I want to be an expert in.
After graduating from SXU I completed my master's at DePaul University in Chicago in 2010. I really felt Saint Xavier did a great job preparing me for graduate school. I found the graduate level material to be a continuation of what the professors at Saint Xavier already taught me. The best part of graduate school is that I never felt as if I was behind in a course due to not covering a topic in enough detail at SXU. In fact I felt as if I was more prepared than other students.
Along with the technical skills I received at SXU, the University has also provided me with social skills which are just as important. Saint Xavier provided me with so many opportunities to meet and interact with all sorts of other people which greatly improved not only my communication and social but also life skills. The biggest impact SXU had on me was my wife, who I met in Calculus III. She also graduated from Saint Xavier with a Mathematics degree in 2008. Both of us could not be happier with how our education at Saint Xavier prepared us for life after school and life on our own together.
In the spring of 2004, I visited Saint Xavier University with my friend Amanda. SXU was the last college on my list to visit. I had three or four schools to choose from. After one walk around campus I knew Saint Xavier was the place for me.
In the spring of 2008, I received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in computer studies and a minor in art. SXU has provided me with so many life opportunities. The most important thing SXU provided me with was the ability meet my beautiful wife Katie who graduated from Saint Xavier with an elementary education major and a music minor. She has been a first grade teacher now for six years. While attending SXU, I was involved in a lot of different activities. All of these different activities helped me develop socially, advanced my personal skills and career goals. All of my professors did their best to help me through my journey. Of course, the professors in the computer science department are my favorites. I admire Dr. Appel, Dr. Mehta and Dr. Fricker for being of great support to me throughout the years.
In 2011, I received my Master of Science in human computer interaction from DePaul University. I am currently working for a small consultant company as a senior business analyst. I have a small company that I run in my free time providing technical solutions for small businesses. I am also a teaching my first course this semester at SXU. I am extremely excited to bring my knowledge and experience to the classroom. Walking around campus and talking to students I see a lot positive and great improvements.
I began my undergraduate education at SXU in 1996 as a math major. After taking my first programming course, I switched my major to computer science. The small class sizes provided me an opportunity to build better relationships with my peers and professors. This was the ideal situation for me to not only learn programming concepts but also how to work together with my peers. I welcomed the demanding and challenging curriculum and appreciate it now that I am an educator myself. I loved the problem solving, the algorithms we would write, and all the exciting programs--from the simple Bank Account class to the more complex memory game. The computer science classes were taught by dedicated teachers who will go the distance to help you excel.
I graduated from SXU in the year 2000 with a degree in computer science. I was hired that year to work for SXU as a lab assistant in the department. I was encouraged by the department to continue my studies and I received my masters in computer science in 2004.
I now teach computer science at a local high school. I try to provide my students with the same superior education, standards and care that I experienced at Saint Xavier University.