University of North Carolina at Asheville
Computer Science Graduates

1997 Grads</b></center> <p> <b> Adam D. Bradley (Computer Systems)<br> Graduate Student<br> Boston University<br></b><p> <l>Currently, I'm receiving a University Graduate Fellowship which pays my tuition + a stipend for my first year so I have freedom to investigate the department's ongoing research.<p> Starting this summer, I will be a Research Assistant for the "Commonwealth Server Project" (, investigating issues surrounding building a distributed web server with the desirable qualities of reliability, redundancy, high utilization and throughput, and utilizing existing off-the-counter physical hardware in conjunction with novel and mainstream software components. My personal project at present can be described on two levels... at the higher level, I am developing a POSIX-threaded web server that will allow us to investigate application-protocol-level queuing, request collection, and related issues. Within the context of that project, I'm developing a module that implements a statistics-gathering HTTP proxy; this proxy version of the server will be used in all the computer-science labs to help us gather statistics about real patterns of WWW utilization and viewing patterns. (The project is now almost in good working order; I know better than to call it "finished", as we all know software is *never* finished...)<p> About half of the department is focused on systems and applications, and this allows a lot of room for people like myself who are fundamentally hackers rather than theorists. What's more, research group meetings are always rewarding, because the theory-oriented and implementation-oriented members of the group are constantly bumping heads and keeping each other in check. Even then, the networking topics we're covering are far from canonical, so there's plenty of room within those camps for disagreement.<p> I cannot overstate the value of the liberal arts education I received at UNCA; in a field as dynamic and rapidly-changing as computer science, it is vital that we have an understanding not only of the main principles of our own field, but of the principles governing the world that we interact with; if we truly are entering into an "information age", then we must be aware of the cultural and civil forces shaping our technology, but also of the social ramifications of implementing the technologies we study and develop.<p> The Computer Systems track did an excellent job preparing me for my graduate work. The department's top-notch computer resources afforded an excellent environment in which to explore current fields in systems and programming, and the faculty were consistently available and willing to offer technical and theoretical assistance. Classes offered an excellent balance between current applications and issues and the theory and concepts underlying them, but didn't demand so much time as to preclude personal in-depth exploration of those topics.<p> I'm particularly thankful for the willingness of the faculty to encourage my explorations (and exploits), and their ability to point me towards rich sources of information rather than just giving flat answers to specific problems.<p></l> <center><b>1996 Grads</b></center><p> <b> Jake Millspaugh (Computer Systems)<br> Systems Engineer<br> Sun Microsystems Inc.<br></b> jake.millspaugh@East.Sun.Com<p> <l>I give pre-sales technical support for all of Sun's products (hardware and software) to a variety of customers. I primarily work with the State Government.<p> I really enjoy being around the leading edge technology that Sun produces. I have probably become spoiled when it comes to new hardware and software. I also like the variety in my job, it's not the same old work day in and day out. I may work on several different projects in a couple of days, or I may work on the same thing for a week straight. I especially like working for Sun as a company. The corporate culture follows a "work hard play hard" type creed. Scott McNealy, Sun's CEO, has said time and time again "kick butt, and have fun." Sun takes good care of it's employees and makes sure that everyone follows Scott's motto.<p> I wouldn't have this job if not for UNCA. UNCA CSci gave me a huge background on which to build almost any computer related career. It has certainly helped me here at Sun, not just technically but mentally. UNCA's "small school" atmosphere promotes close interaction with students and faculty, as well as working with other people in teams or groups. I have found that, in particular, to be very helpful in the transition from school to a work environment. In general, UNCA and UNCA's CSci department was a key component in my career now, and my career growth in the future.<p></l> <center><b>1995 Grads</b></center><p> <b> Vicki Tziavelis (Information Systems)<br> Applications Programmer<br> UNCA Computer Center<br></b><p> <l>I work for Administrative Computing Services at the UNCA Computer Center. My main responsibilities include analytical and programming support for UNCA's Student Information System (SIS) with special emphasis on web applications, the admissions module, and several side systems that have been developed at UNCA. I also provide support, consultation and troubleshooting for SIS users and serve as campus webmaster.<p> I like the fact that something different is always going on, whether that be system upgrades, or user questions that I have to figure out. I enjoy the challenge of working directly with users in educating them and answering their questions. I also enjoy working in an educational environment such as UNCA (really!) because I'm always in an atmosphere of learning.<p> The most significant thing that going through the UNCA CSCI program taught me was probably the fact that I had to learn how to always learn. Since this field changes so quickly, you have to always work at not "falling behind the times".<p></l> <center><b>1994 Grads</b></center><p> <b>Christopher E. Justice (Computer Systems)<br> Product Manager, Data Warehouse Solutions<br> PLATINUM Technology, Inc.<br></b><br><p> <l>As a Product Manager, my primary focus is the success of various data warehouse products and consulting services for the Data Warehousing division of PLATINUM technology, inc. Therefore, I am involved with the marketing, business development, software development, technical support, and the consulting services provided for various products within the division. My position also requires that I develop strategies for integrating data warehousing products with other PLATINUM software and other third-party software products.<p> The position allows me to be an integral part of the entire software development life cycle. I also have the opportunity to "get my hands dirty" and write my own software applications for use with our products. I particularly enjoy the external communication with third-party software vendors, and building new relationships with existing and potential customers. Finally, my position allows me the freedom to make decisions, and I feel personally responsible for the success of the software which I manage.<p> Many times during my university education, I felt as if much of the course material was not relevant to what I might be doing when I graduated. However, I have discovered that I have had the opportunity to apply almost every computer science course I had taken while attending UNCA. I still refer to many of the text books required for my computer science classes. The personal attention given to me during my studies by each of the professors in the Computer Science department has shaped me into the person I am today.<p></l> <b> Scott McMahan<br> System Developer<br> SoftBase Systems<br></b><br><br><p> <l>I work for a small company, SoftBase Systems, and do a lot of stuff! My main job is developing client/server products. My current project is a checkpoint/restart utility called Client/Server Checkpoint. It's currently written in C, but we're porting the checkpoint/restart paradigm to a new object oriented framework. We're going to implement it in Java and C++. Working in Java on a serious project was a lot of fun.<p> My current work has two aspects I particularly like. First, I get a lot of experience in many different areas. For example, our company sells mainframe programming tools, and I've learned a lot about MVS in the years I've been here. I also get to evaluate and recommend my own development tools (since I'm the main client/server programmer here), so I get experience with a lot of new and cutting edge tools. Second, I work for a small company and wear many hats. I run the network, develop software, etc. It's not boring. There's always something interesting and fun. We're also a fast moving company which pounces on new opportunities. It's never the same old same old.<p> In addition to my work at Softbase, I do a little web programming on the side for SK Web Construction. In return, they've given me some room to put up web pages on their server. I've put up just about everything I could think of at my site. Shareware and free programs, my Cyber Reviews book reviews, poems, artwork, music, you name it. It's a playground where I can be creative and really test the limits of what you can do on the web.<p> I have also gotten an article published in the December 1997 issue of Windows Developer's Journal, fulfilling a lifelong dream of becoming a published author.<p> What I liked most about UNCA was the unrestricted access to the UNIX workstations, the Internet, etc. For someone who enjoyed learning on his own, it was a perfect environment to explore things of interest. I don't know if any other school would have the same combination of a small, informal CS department with big-time equipment.<p> Allowing me to do a lot of independent learning has helped me in my current job, too. That's all I do! Since I've graduated, I've had to learn one new technology after another: Delphi, Java, DB2 Universal Database, Windows NT, etc. I have to constantly try to stay on top of new technology. The single most important quality a computer professional can have is an unstoppable drive to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible.<p> The importance of the humanities studies at UNCA for computer science majors can't be underestimated. The people who design our computers often have no appreciation of the human condition, and live in an insulated ivory tower (or machine room) out of touch with the impact technology has on human lives. Without an appreciation for what it means to be human and an understanding that it is our job as the people who are creating the future to make the human condition better, you will not have a direction for your career in computer science.<p></l> <center><b>1991 Grads</b></center><p> <b> Steve Fleming (Information Systems)<br> Webmaster<br> National Climatic Data Center<br></b><br><p> <l>I maintain the website for the National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, NC. I like what I do because it's at the forefront of what is happening in the world.<p> I found UNCA to be an excellent education at a livable price. The course work was challenging but rewarding. The instructors were outstanding and the curriculum prepared me for the challenges I face today. I would recommend it to anyone.<p></l> <center><b>1990 Grads</b></center><p> <b> Janet Schroeder Shearon (Computer Systems)<br> Business Analyst<br> Sonopress, Inc.<br></b><p> <l>Sonopress is converting its manufacturing systems to SAP with a project deadline of Jan. 1999. I am working on the Financial team, managing all the configuration, reporting and scripting for the AP, AR and GL areas. Other responsibilities include configuring and coding any/all EDI, timekeeping and current Financial software needs for Sonopress. Myself and a part-time contractor support our two AS/400's along with all the peripherals, including a 25 station Radio Frequency Network.<p> There are two reasons UNC-A is fond to me.... 1) It gave me the opportunity to get an education in which I can support myself and 2) It gave me the opportunity to meet my husband!<p></l> <center><b>1986 Grads</b></center><p> <b> Kathy Hawkins (Information Systems)<br> Computer Scientist<br> National Climatic Data Center<br></b><p> <l>I do system analysis and design. I enjoy development of new systems. My job allows me to move from one project to another during the analysis and development stages. It is rewarding to work on a project for two to three years and participate in successful installations.<p> My years at UNC-A were an exciting, stressful time in my life. Working full-time and attending college part-time presented continuous challenges. The environment at UNC-A promoted a sense of "belonging" for both resident and commuter students. My Computer Science classes were time-consuming and difficult, but the professors and students were cohesive; promoting a learning environment that was enjoyable. I don't really look back at my college years as the "good old days," but they were an important time of learning and growing in my life.<p></l> </body> </html>