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‘Collaboration Exploration’ brings computer science alumni to campus

March 27, 2015

This past Saturday, Monmouth College hosted its annual computer science conference.

The conference began at noon with a job fair in the Tartan Room followed by an alumni panel. Several successful Monmouth graduates were present to discuss their experiences and what has led them to where they are today.

Recent graduate of Monmouth College Jake Barr said, “The liberal arts experience helped create a sense of well-roundedness. It was really easy to branch out and learn new things because of having a general knowledge coming out of college.”

One of the aspects of his liberal arts education that he attributes to his success is problem solving. He has been able to use techniques he learned at Monmouth, such as taking a “logical approach” when presented obstacles. Barr now works as a senior consultant at Sogeti, which is currently the leading provider of technology and software testing.

Alumnus Cliff Hastings now works at Wolfram, a search engine that answers factual questions by computing the answer from curated data rather than providing a list of documents or web pages that might contain the answer, as a search engine might.

Hastings is the director of sales and strategic initiatives. He also owns a 30 team volleyball program in Champaign. In his line of work, it’s hard to keep up with the times because people are dealing with “smarter users” than in the past. Hastings said, “Online education provides us the opportunity to decide who we want to learn from and where. When you have the opportunity to learn from the best it provides a different type of motivation to learn.”

Students were able to speak one-on-one with speakers to gain insight on questions they had about careers and seek advice as they begin the job search. Senior Anthony Larios took advantage of this opportunity as he begins to prepare for life after Monmouth College.

Larios said, “I’m really glad to see that the computer science department at Monmouth College is started to put together a fence and the fact that they are able to do a job fair with people who not only graduated from here but also have affiliations with the college can really help us step out and actually get a job. Especially as a senior, making these connections is important.”

Beth Dingman
Contributing Writer

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