/ Computer Science Department

Seminar Schedule

We bring in a variety of speakers to campus to talk about things that might not normally be covered in our classes. When possible, these seminars are recorded. Those videos are available below.


September 6, 2018 - Andrew Van Pernis, Dreamworks Animation

Andrew is a project manager with a focus on building artist-centric applications with C++, Python, OpenGL and Qt.

He has worked on both visual effects production and animated films. He has experience in creating the user interface and experience for applications as well as the core technologies to drive those applications.

Andrew grew up on the shores of Lake Superior in Ashland, Wisconsin. He received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Hope College in 1996. Andrew then went on to Clemson University where he obtained a Master’s degree in 1998 and a Ph.D. in 2004 in Computer Science. His Ph.D. thesis was titled Global Diffuse Illumination for Image Sequences and focused on creating realistic lighting for animated virtual environments.

Andrew started his career in visual effects and animation in 2004 with the startup In-Three, Inc. which provided stereoscopic conversion for several Disney films including Alice in Wonderland. In 2009 he joined DreamWorks Animation as a Senior Software Engineer on the Animation Tools team. He has had the incredible pleasure of working on every film since How To Train Your Dragon. During that time, Andrew has helped to build a state-of-the-art animation tool, Premo, that was first used on How To Train Your Dragon 2 and he is currently working on a cutting edge tool for character setup and rigging, Luna. Andrew works directly with the Software Engineers, Animators and Character TDs to create solutions for the technical and creative challenges they encounter. This close collaboration with productions has allowed DreamWorks to create fast, intuitive and immersive tools that are best in class.

Outside of work, he enjoys hiking, camping, and playing video games and board games.

Watch a video of Andrew's presentation

September 20, 2018 - Hope Summer Research projects

Phil Caris, Jori Gelbaugh, Dennis Towns - Vitalis, an Electronic Medical Record for Nursing Education.  Watch a video of this presentation.

Josiah Brett and Josiah Brouwer - Parallel Programming on GPUs using CUDA

Louis Kopp and Caleb Tallquist - Android Bilancio and TreesApp

October 4, 2018 - Nathan Vance, Graduate Student at University of Notre Dame

Nathan Vance graduated from Hope College in May 2017 with majors in computer science and chemistry. While at Hope, he worked closely with Dr. Will Polik in the chemistry department to build high throughput computing systems ranging from cluster computers to dynamically allocated cloud systems.

Nathan started graduate school at the Univeristy of Notre Dame in the Fall of 2017. He is part of Dr. Dong Wang's research group, which focuses on social sensing, edge computing, machine learning and cyberphysical-human systems. Nathan is particularly interested in edge computing, which applies the concepts of cloud, cluster and ubiquitous computing to commodity hardware in close proximity to the data being processed.

In his spare time, Nathan is involved with his church, plays board games and attempts at carpentry.

Watch a video of Nathan's presentation (due to a technical difficulty, this recording starts in the middle of the presentation)

October 18, 2018 - Victoria Gonda, Buffer

Victoria started her software development journey at Hope College studying dance and computer science. After graduating from Hope in 2016, she began her career at Collective Idea in Holland, MI working on Android and Ruby on Rails applications. Since deciding to focus on mobile development, she now works remotely as an Android developer at Buffer. She is also an author for RayWenderlich.com, and is active in the Android community as a conference speaker.

When not traveling for work or play, you can find her at her home in Chicago. She enjoys playing board games with her partner, Tyler, or attending dance classes. Relaxing looks like curling up with a good book and some tea, while cuddling her cat and hedgehog.

Watch a video of Victoria's presentation

November 1, 2018 - J. Tower, Trailhead Technologies

Jonathan "J." Tower is a Microsoft MVP, Telerik Developer Expert, and business owner with twenty years of software industry experience. He loves solving problems and the creative aspects of software work, as well as sharing what he's learned with others and building the technology community. His current technology interests include C#, .NET Core, ASP.NET, and the JavaScript ecosystem, as well as a few different mobile app technologies. J. lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with his wife and children, where he uses his passion for the tech community to run a user group and the Beer City Code conference.

Watch a video of J.'s presentation

November 15, 2018 - Rachael McQuater & Taylor Vanden Hoek, Atomic Object

Rachael is a Software Consultant and Developer at Atomic Object. She's been building software and consulting with Atomic clients since 2016. She brings technical perspectives to the human-centered problems that her customers face.

Taylor is a Software Consultant and Designer at Atomic Object. She works alongside Atomic’s clients and development teams to design and create great software solutions that work for the people who use them.

Watch a video of Rachael and Taylor's Presentation

November 29, 2018 - Sanethia Thomas, PhD Candidate at the University of Florida

Sanethia Thomas is a PhD Candidate, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow, and GEM fellow at the University of Florida in the Human Experience Research Lab under Dr. Juan Gilbert. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from the University of Texas El Paso and a Masters in Youth Development Leadership from Clemson University, where she graduated in the top ten percent and was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. She was also inducted into the first African American Honor Society Beta Eta Sigma and Golden Key International Honor Society for the top fifteen percent of graduate students.  

She has represented the United States of America by playing basketball in Amsterdam, Belgium, and Paris. Her basketball experiences have fueled her research in developing technologies that will assist athletes in transitional skills and mental health. Her research is interdisciplinary as it includes the fields of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Athlete Development, Artificial Intelligence and Affective Computing. Specifically, she explores the concept using Natural Language Interfaces and Intelligent Embodied Conversational Agents to help athletes. Her research also touches areas in User Experience, Human-Centered Computing, Educational Technologies, and Athlete Development. Sanethia Thomas has made notable contributions by publishing in the Journal of Higher Education Athletics & Innovation and several conference venues.

Her experiences have spanned across the private and public sector, from America Online (AOL) to Government and to K-12. Outside of graduate school, Sanethia has helped over 500 students and student-athletes prepare college by helping them increase their SAT/ACT scores through her non-profit organization Score High Coach.

Watch a video of Sanethia's presentation (you will need the password that was emailed out to all students via the Computer Science Community news forum)

December 6, 2018 - Senior Project Showcase
In this showcase, students in CSCI 481, Senior Project Seminar, will demonstrate what they've accomplished for their senior projects.


September 7, 2017:  Summer research presentations

Students from the 2017 summer research program will present their work. Amber Carnahan and Jori Gelbaugh will present Articulus, a Chrome extension whose goal is to allow readers of a web page to adjust the reading level required to understand the page’s content.  

View a video of Amber and Jori's presentation

Melissa Bazany and Cordell Engbers will present their work on the continued development of enhancing the Student Assessment of Learning and Teaching (SALT), a web application used by students at Hope to provide feedback about the effectiveness of their courses.

View a video of Melissa and Cordell's presentation

September 21, 2017:  Raspberry Pi showcase
Last spring several students took Raspberry Pi kits home with them to learn how to develop applications on them. These students will have a chance to show off their work at this seminar!
October 5, 2017:  Maria Eguiluz, General Electric

After graduating from Hope with a B.A. in computer science, biology and Spanish, Maria started working for GE Digital as part of their two-year Digital Technology Leadership Program. This program provided her the opportunity to explore front-end development as well as experiencing what working on enterprise Java applications is really like. Since ending the program, Maria has started learning and working in user experience design. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her dog, Cosmo, traveling and reading.

Watch a video of Maria's presentation (note - battery died about 30 minutes in unfortunately).

October 19, 2017:  Paige Rodeghero, University of Notre Dame

Paige Rodeghero is a 5th-year Ph.D. candiate at the University of Notre Dame. Her research interests include software engineering, program comprehension, autogenerated source code documentation and the gamification of software engineering. She publishes at venues such as ICSE, TSE and ESME. She currently holds the title of Instructor of Record and is teaching “Educational Game Design” at the University of Notre Dame. In her free time, she dances with the University of Notre Dame Dance Company.

View a video of Paige's presentation (first 15 minutes unfortunately not recorded).

November 2, 2017:  Dr. Will Polik, Hope College Chemistry

Dr. Will Polik is a professor of chemistry at Hope College. His scholarship spans chemistry, physics, mathematics and computation. He has worked with 76 undergraduate research students, of whom 32 are co-authors on publications and 21 have subsequently received Ph.D.s. He is a co-developer of WebMO software used by over 2,400 research groups and academic institutions worldwide and co-founder of the Midwestern Undergraduate Computational Chemistry Consortium (MU3C).

View a video of Dr. Polik's presentation

November 16, 2017:  Rachel McQuater, Atomic Object

Rachael McQuater is a Software Developer & Consultant at Atomic Object. Prior to joining Atomic, she worked with the University of Michigan 3D Lab as a human-centered computing consultant, where she worked with various artists, researchers and technologists to build interaction systems for complex data and simulations in virtual reality. Today, she builds custom software at Atomic Object, with a focus on accessibility and usability. She continues to explore emerging technologies in virtual and augmented reality, and is excited to see how these powerful tools will impact our daily lives. Outside of technology she is an avid tabletop gamer and aspiring aerialist.

View a video of Rachael's presentation

December 7, 2017 (10:30 a.m.): Senior Project Seminar final project presentations

Students from the Senior Project Seminar course will present their work on their capstone projects.  Note that these presentations will start at 10:30 a.m.

View a video of these students' presentations.

January 18, 2018:  Dr. Derek Schuurman, Calvin College

Derek C. Schuurman worked as an electrical engineer for several years and later returned to school to complete a Ph.D. in the area of robotics and computer vision. He has taught computer science at both Dordt College and Redeemer University College and is now professor of computer science at Calvin College and the current William Spoelhof Teacher-Scholar-in-Residence chair. Dr. Schuurman is a fellow in technology at St. George’s Centre for Biblical and Public Theology and is a member of the board for the Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences (ACMS). He has written about faith and technology issues and is the author of the book Shaping a Digital World: Faith, Culture and Computer Technology published by InterVarsity Press.

View a video of Dr. Schuurman's presentation

February 1, 2018: Summer Research Opportunities

At this seminar, faculty from the computer science department will present the summer research opportunities for 2018. Additionally, graduating seniors recognized by the Sigma Xi honorary society will be recognized.

View a video of the research opportunity presentations

February 15, 2018: Palmer D'Orazio

Palmer D'Orazio recently completed a Master's of Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University. During his time at Hope, Palmer studied computer science, earned a minor in music and worked as a graphic designer on campus. He eventually discovered the broader field of design, which allowed him to combine his interests. Currently, he is a User Experience Designer at JazzHR in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He's working to build a robust user research practice, gradually overhaul the app's UI, and make UX design work alongside Agile development. He has a cat named Bernadette.

View a video of Palmer's Presentation

Palmer's Slides
March 13, 2018: Matt Johnson, Open Systems Technologies

Matt Johnson is a software development consultant for Open Systems Technologies (OST) in Grand Rapids. Over his almost four years at OST, he has worked on development projects for clients both small and large in a vast array of industries. Matt has gained experience on large teams and even on solo projects developing internal and public facing websites using the latest web development technologies. Matt started at OST after graduating from Hope in 2014 as a computer science and mathematics major. He was a sprinter and javelin thrower for Hope’s men’s track and field team, and still maintains a passion for sports. When the weather is warmer, you can find Matt running, longboarding or even car racing.

See a video of Matt's presentation (requires password, see email from Computer Science Community forum post for password)

March 29, 2018: Student Research presentations

At this seminar, students Grace DuMez, Michael Kiley and Mark Powers will present the work they did during the summer of 2017.

Watch a video of these presentations

April 5, 2018: Dr. Arun Ross, Michigan State University

Arun Ross is a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Michigan State University, and is the director of the Integrated Pattern Recognition and Biometrics (iPRoBe) Lab. He conducts research on the topic of biometrics, privacy, computer vision and pattern recognition. He is a recipient of the JK Aggarwal Prize and the Young Biometrics Investigator Award from the International Association of Pattern Recognition for his contributions to the field of Pattern Recognition and Biometrics. He was designated a Kavli Fellow by the US National Academy of Sciences by virtue of his presentation at the 2006 Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposia. Ross is also a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, the 2005 Biennial Pattern Recognition Journal Best Paper Award and the Five Year Highly Cited BTAS 2009 Paper Award. He is a co-author of the monograph “Handbook of Multibiometrics” and the textbook Introduction to Biometrics.

Watch a video of Dr. Ross' presentation

April 19, 2018: Dinner and trivia at Dr. Cusack's house

Students and faculty from the computer science department will get together at Dr. Cusack's house to honor our graduating seniors, chat and participate in a computer science competition, Jeopardy style.

RSVP here by the end of the day on Monday, April 16 to let us know you're coming!


March 30 2017: Exploring Bioinformations through Distributed Computing | Nicholas Hazekamp

March 2 2017:  American Self-Defense in Cyberspace | Dr. Josiah Dykstra and Dr. Joel Toppen
February 16 2017: Student Presentations | Nathan Gingrich and Dane Linsky
October 27 2016: Everything is "in the cloud" ... so what's the big deal? | Anita Bateman
October 27 2016: The W. Mich. Anti-Fraud Research Collaboration | Dr. Tim Bergsma

October 6, 2016: Learning how to Learn — Studying Deep Learning as a Graduate Student in Computer Science | Joel Brogan