Brendan Burgess, wearing a business suit and seated in a chair

Computer science, mathematics students well-positioned for hi-tech futures

May 29, 2018

Clark University’s computer science and mathematics majors found plenty of ways to apply what they learned this year. Not only did six undergraduates place in the top 10 in a recent regional computing contest, but students also lined up jobs and internships at Amazon, Goldman Sachs, Bloomberg, Morgan Stanley, IBM, NetApp, TD Ameritrade, and more. Another graduate had his pick of graduate schools after being accepted into several mathematics programs. A number of rising seniors will conduct research with faculty on campus, via Clark LEEP Fellowships and the Interdisciplinary Summer Research Program.

Christian Rentsman seated on steps
Christian Rentsman '18 has landed a job at
Amazon. Read more about his experience
as a student at Clark.

“We have excellent students in computer science and mathematics who have diverse interests and talents, and they play active roles in campus life. Their success demonstrates the value of a Clark education,” says Li Han, chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and associate professor of computer science.

Three students in the Class of 2018 graduated with Outstanding Achievement in Computer Science Awards, and have landed jobs in the industry:

  • Jiri Roznovjak, a double major in computer science and mathematics who graduated in December, now works as a software engineer at Bloomberg, developing trading systems. While at Clark, Roznovjak was president of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)’s student chapter.
  • Brendan Burgess (pictured at top), a double major in political science and computer science and minor in mathematics, will work as a technology analyst in the Compliance Division at Goldman Sachs. At Clark, Burgess was president of the Model United Nations program and vice president of the Clark Competitive Computing Club (C4). He graduated this May. (Read more about Brendan Burgess' experience at Clark.)
  • Christian Rentsman, a double major in mathematics and computer science and minor in comparative literature, graduated this May and landed a job as a software development engineer with Amazon. At Clark, Rentsman was president of C4 and an executive editor and member of the e-board for the Scholarly Undergraduate Research Journal.

Michael Gaiweski seated at computer, with Professor Dresch looking over his shoulder
Michael Gaiewski ’18 works with Professor
Jacqueline Dresch on bioinformatics research.
Read more about Gaiewski's summer research
 and about Professor Dresch's
research with Biology Professor Robert Drewell.

The Outstanding Achievement Award in Mathematics went to Michael Gaiewski ’18, a double major in mathematics and economics who was admitted to several doctoral programs and ultimately decided to study mathematics at the University of Connecticut.

All four award winners stressed the influence of faculty who provided them with opportunities, guidance, and advice throughout their time at Clark.

Gaiewski worked in the bioinformatics laboratory of Jacqueline Dresch, assistant professor of mathematics. He says she taught him, "Don't forget your math. Don't get hung up on something without thinking about it mathematically first. Remember your math first and use what you are good at."

Gaiewski will continue working with Dresch this summer on their bioinformatics project and publication before he heads to UConn. "Professor Dresch was the main reason I got into research and decided to pursue a Ph.D. She always makes herself available, and listens to students' ideas and input," Gaiewski says. As for his time at Clark, he says, "It's been a great four years."

Rentsman points to Han’s support and guidance in helping him succeed at Clark.

Head shot of Jiri Roznovjak
Jiri Roznovjak '18 now 
works at Bloomberg.

“Professor Han has helped me develop my problem-solving skills to an extent which I could have never imagined when I first declared a major in computer science,” he says. “She’s helped me find various opportunities inside and outside the CS Department, and guided me in the internship search process. Her consistent advisement and motivation has paid dividends regarding my current career opportunities and overall outlook on software development.”

Burgess recalls how Han encouraged him to join C4, which he says has been “great for career development because it shows problem-solving skills and a competitive edge.”

During his freshman and sophomore years, Roznovjak conducted research with John Magee, assistant professor of computer science, in accessible computing, helping people with disabilities interact with the computer, and in computer vision, which is used in multiple applications, including artificial intelligence. (Read more about Jiri Roznovjak's search with John Magee.)

“Professor Magee gave me a great opportunity to work on research,” Roznovjak says. “One summer, I worked with him at Boston University. He also enabled me to attend a conference on computer vision. That definitely served as an inspiration. Later on, he gave me the freedom to pursue research topics of my own interests, which contributed to my academic development.”

Computer science and mathematics students head to summer internships and more

Computer science and math majors have lined up these internships for the summer. Among the students who responded to inquiries about their summer plans:

Christina Zymaris and Bezawit Ayalew standing at a research poster
Christina Zymaris '19, left, has a GIS internship with
ClarkLabs, and Bezawit Ayalew ’19 is interning as a
data scientist at Payette, an architecture design firm.

  • Samantha Hughson ’19, a computer science major, mathematics minor and president of Clark’s Women in STEM club, and Luke Branam-Wenger ’19, a double major in computer science and mathematics and minor in economics, will intern with Amazon’s software development team.
  • Bezawit Ayalew ’19, a double major in computer science and economics, will intern as a data scientist at Payette, an architecture design firm in Boston. She is the current president of Clark’s ACM student chapter.
  • Tiffany Kayo ’19 will intern with Morgan Stanley’s Japan Division. Kayo is a double major in computer science and economics, a minor in math, and an officer with Clark’s ACM student chapter. Next fall, Kayo plans to study abroad at the London School of Economics, according to Magee.
  • Tenzing Gurung '19 is interning as an analyst for Deutsche Bank’s Global Transaction Banking division in New York. A mathematics major and management minor, Gurung plans to study abroad at the London School of Economics next fall.
  • Teodor Nicola-Antoniu ’19, a double major in computer science and math, will be interning in data analytics for NetApp in Sunnyvale, California. A C4 E-Board member, he also is active in the Clark Investments and Trading Society and Salsa Encendida.
    Head shot of Teodor Nicola Antoniu
    Teodor Nicola-Antoniu,
    class of 2019, has an
    internship at NetApp.

  • Clement Nagourney ’19, a double major in computer science and physics, will work as an engineering intern for NetApp in Boulder, Colorado. Nagourney is a C4 E-Board member and a student system administrator for the Math and Computer Science computer lab under Professor Kenneth Basye's guidance.
  • Catalin Veghes ’20, a computer science major, will intern with IBM Romania. Veghes is a C4 E-Board member.
  • Jesus Robles Garcia will intern at State Street as a software developer. He is a double major in computer science and economics, with a minor in management. He is treasurer of ACM and works at the Clark ITS Help Desk.
  • Jake Ah Heng will intern at AxisPoint as a software developer. He is a double major in mathematics and computer science and has been a web developer for Clark's LEEP Center, under the guidance of Michelle Bata, associate dean and director of the LEEP Center.
  • Christina Zymaris ’19, a double major in computer science and geography, will intern with Clark Labs, working with GIS (geographic information system) software. Zymaris is an officer for ACM’s Clark student chapter.
  • Ella “Bernie” Tuson ’19, a computer science major, will serve as a research assistant in the laboratory of John Magee, assistant professor of computer science, with funding through Clark’s Interdisciplinary Summer Research Program.
    Head shot of Ella Tuson
    Ella “Bernie” Tuson ’19
    is conducting research
    with Professor John

  • Jennifer Fells ’19, a mathematics major and computer science minor, will intern with the Actuarial Department of Mapfre Insurance. Fells is a research assistant for Clark’s Strategic Analytics and Institutional Research. She prepared for the actuarial internship by taking statistics courses with Michael Satz, lecturer in mathematics.
  • Navid Al Hossain ’18, a double major in mathematics and computer science, will intern as a software developer with Here Technologies. He has been a research assistant in the Dresch Lab. (Read more about Navid Al Hossain's research with Professor Dresch.)
  • So Jung Kim ’19, a mathematics major, received Clark’s LEEP Fellowship to study topology with a professor at Seoul National University in South Korea. She has been studying with Amir Babak Aazami, assistant professor of mathematics, to prepare for the challenging research ahead.
  • Mateo Gomez ’20, a mathematics major and economics minor, has been admitted to Columbia University through the competitive 3/2 Engineering program, which enables students to receive a B.A. from Clark and a B.S. in engineering from Columbia in five years. While at Clark, he received funding through Clark’s Interdisciplinary Summer Research Program, working with Aazami.

Computer science students place in top 10 of regional programming contest

Six computer science students participated in the 2018 regional programming contest for the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges Northeast (CCSCNE), part of two teams that placed in the top 10 out of more than 30 other colleges and universities.

The team of Brendan Burgess ’18, Clement Nagourney ’19, and Christian Rentsman ’18 placed third place; the team of Hung D. Nguyen ’18, Bao Q. “Bradley” Pham ’19, and Catalin Veghes ’20 won eighth place.

Group photo of computer science students with professors John Magee and Li Han
From left, Professor John Magee, Ella “Bernie” Tuson,
Clement Nagourney, David Muckle, Bradley Pham,
Hung Nguyen, Brendan Burgess, Professor Li Han,
Christian Rentsman, Catalin Veghes, Bezawit Ayalew,
and Christina Zymaris.

“The students all did very well. They worked hard in their preparations for the posters, presentations, and programming contests, and we appreciate their efforts in representing Clark so well,” says Li Han, associate professor of mathematics and computer science and the faculty adviser for C4.

John Magee, assistant professor of mathematics and computer science, also donated his time, accompanying students to the conference and advising some of them on poster projects. The conference accepts only about half of all papers submitted.

Ella “Bernie” Tuson ’19, David Muckle ’18, Bezawit Ayalew ’19, and Christina Zymaris ’19 presented their posters, with Ayalew and Zymaris representing their co-author, Tiffany Kayo ’19, who was unable to attend. Topics included the creation of ClarkEats, a platform through which users can list excess food to share in hopes of decreasing waste; the social effects of video games; and the analysis of software languages.

Clark’s teams have been very successful over the past several years, Han says. Burgess, Rentsman and Roznovjak competed in ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC), considered the premiere global programming competition conducted by and for the world’s universities, in fall 2016. They advanced to North East North America (NENA) Regional Final.

“Clark has participated in ICPC twice and advanced to the NENA Regional Finals both times, one of very few liberal arts colleges in this region to compete with teams from the world’s top universities, including MIT, Harvard, Brown, and McGill,” according to Han.