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Neumont University was founded in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2003, to fill the growing national demand for industry-ready technology professionals by offering an accredited bachelor’s degree in three years that immerses students in a rigorous, project-based curriculum. This blog serves as a platform to publish and share, news, reviews, and stories from Utah's best kept tech secret. 

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Blog

Neumont University's official blogs shares the stories of our students, alumni, faculty, and staff to illustrate the Neumont experience. 

 

Meet Computer Science Chair Kellie Thompson

Neumont University

From “algorithm enchantress” Ada Lovace to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, there are many stories of women in the tech industry whose talent, skill and brilliance have done incredible things for technology.

However it's well-established that there are not enough women working in technology today. Especially when you consider that in 1984, 37 percent of computer science graduates were women compared to only 18 percent today. 

We sat down with Kellie Thompson, the new chair of Neumont University's Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree to talk about women in tech, her 15 years of experience in the industry, the value of failing, and her love of animals.

(This interview has been edited for clarity and content.) 

NU: Thanks for taking the time to meet. Let’s talk a little bit about your path to Neumont, and computer science in general. 

KT: Yes, I love technology. Originally I wanted to work in tech as a veterinarian. I followed my Mom and moved to Northern California. As I worked in the veterinarian field as a technician, I decided that I really loved animals but I didn’t want to be a vet. My mom was a computer programmer, she did RPG and she told me, "Don’t go into programming." 

So I did, (laughs) and I’m glad I did. I love the problem solving, the constant learning and got my degree in Computer Science from Cal State Hayward. I failed one of my first tests in school and wondered if I should continue. But it was okay, as I’ve gotten older I better understand that failure is learning. 

There are a lot of opportunities for women in tech and a lot of us are trying to figure out the puzzle as to why they are not [more women taking advantage of the opportunities]. For example, I’m not a morning person, but the world seems to be more geared to morning people. And the same thing is happening in the workforce – it is so geared towards men. So I had to look at the puzzle, and I’m still trying to figure it out, but how could I make it work for not just me but other women.  

NU: Are there certain things that need to be done to make women feel more comfortable?

KT: You look at the numbers, and 90-plus percent of tech is men, that includes the leadership. But there are so many of the traits and characteristics we could all benefit from having more influence of women in this workforce and these leadership positions. One thing we could all do better is to reinforce positive behavior and look at the contribution of the individual instead of a person’s gender. I say I learned about the kind of boss I wanted to be a lot by working for people and learning what not to do. 

NU: Not to go negative in the interview, but are you willing to share a few examples? 

KT: I’ve seen lot in this industry, from the Dotcom bubble to experiencing sexism first-hand in the workforce. When I started in what I thought was my first ‘tech’ job, I had moved to the east coast, and it turned out to be more of a job as a secretary. That wasn’t for me. They had some very old ideas about the roles women should play in leadership and technology. I was told I was not qualified for positions and the main reason was that I am a woman. 

NU: That seems crazy to think about people saying and believing. How did you handle the hostility? 

KT: Looking back, I didn’t think about it or how it was playing out. Where I worked, for most of my life, I was one of, if not the only woman – but like I said, I didn’t think about it as much as I just worked hard, learned, created, and kept my eye on the prize. 

NU: So along the lines of being one of the only women in tech at your job, I’ve been reading a lot about the pipeline to these jobs – that there just aren’t as many women to choose from by the time it gets to the workforce. The non-profit Girls Who Code reported that about 74 percent of young girls express interest in STEM fields and computer science, but by the time they are deciding what to study, there’s already been a drastic drop off in that pool. Is there something we should be doing different, earlier in their development? 

KT: It makes me think about the larger issue of gender, and then something so simple as their toys. I mean, I love Barbie, sure, Barbie’s great—but how much problem solving is Barbie doing? You give a boy a truck, blocks – what does he do? He builds and creates and problem solves. He probably makes mistakes and figures it out. Our girls need to see it’s okay to make mistakes. In fact, the problem-solving piece of Neumont’s curriculum is one of the things that influenced my decision to come here to teach. 

NU: Can you elaborate a little bit more about that?

KT: I like Neumont’s curriculum: the problem solving, the opportunities to create, and the hands-on approach. I like that instructors have flexibility within the curriculum to use their experience and passion to help these bright minds – many who are smarter than me – make valuable contributions to society.  

NU: Wow. That's a great point! Thanks so much for you time today. It's been great meeting you.

Showcasing Student Projects One Event At A TIme

Neumont University

Twice a year, Neumont University hosts Project Showcase. Students are encouraged to show off projects they've developed both in and out of the classroom in a friendly competition with gaming, non-gaming, Capstone, and Enterprise project categories.

In March, Project Showcase coincides with Freshman Experience to give future students a chance to see project-based learning in action and better understand what a Neumont computer science education entails. 

This year is no different. Students are asked to register their projects by Friday, March 3. (You can register your project here.) In the past, we've seen security systems, websites, apps, games, race cars, and more presented at the event. Anything students code from the ground-up is fair game to be included at this event. 

Beyond inviting future students and their parents to the event, we also invite alumni, staff, faculty, and the tech community to participate. During the event, all guests are encourage to vote for their favorite projects in each category. The winners will be announced with the highest honor going to the Ultimate Grand Champion selected by the audience. 

Project Showcase is on Friday, March 10, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Nemont University's campus in downtown Salt Lake City. RSVP for the event on our Facebook page

Five Things To Do Before You Attend Neumont's FReX Event

Neumont University

So you’ve applied, been accepted (yay!), now what? Come and visit our high-tech campus nestled in downtown Salt Lake City.

The best time for accepted students to visit is definitely FReX: our Accepted Student weekend. Held annually in the spring, accepted students and their parents are invited to this freshman experience extravaganza. You’ll get to check out the campus, see project-based learning in action, and, perhaps most importantly, get a feel for how you’ll fit in at Neumont. 

Make sure you’re ready for FReX by following our handy-dandy checklist. We can’t wait to see your shining face on campus!

  1. REGISTER! Discuss with your parents and decide which FReX dates works best for you: March 10-11 or April 14-15. After you’ve decided on the date, submit your registration early.
    1. Register for the March 10-11, 2017 FReX event here.
    2. Register for the April 14-15, 2017 FReX event here.
       
  2. MAKE YOUR TRAVEL PLANS! Traveling from out of state for your visit? You’re not alone, as over 80% of our students attend from out of state. Work with your parents to make a travel plan that works for your family. Please note that both the March and April FReX events begin on Friday morning, so make sure to plan accordingly (for most this will mean arriving the Thursday before the event). 

    Neumont’s campus is located a short drive or public transit ride away from the Salt Lake City International Airport, a popular travel option for many out-of-state visitors. Additionally, our event hotel and campus are connected to the airport via TRAX light rail. You won't need to rent a car unless you're traveling outside of any Neumont events. 
     
  3. BOOK YOUR HOTEL! As a special incentive for accepted students and parents attending Neumont from out-of-state, Neumont will provide one double-occupancy hotel room for up to two nights. (We suggest checking in on Thursday and checking out on Saturday.) Hotel rooms are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note, you will be asked to provide your credit card number to secure your reservation.  

    Book up to two free hotel nights and any additional nights at the Neumont corporate rate, by following the directions below:
    1. Click the "Book Your Hotel" link below for your preferred dates. 
    2. Book your hotel for March FReX here.
    3. Book your hotel for April FReX here
    4. On the welcome page, click on the "Book Now" button.
    5. On the next page, select your check-in and check-out dates and then click "Confirm Dates of Stay." 
    6. On the next page, make your room selection and select "Add Room & Checkout."
    7. On the next page, enter the guest information, including payment method, and select "Book Now."
       
  4. SIGN UP FOR THE SUPER SMASH BROS TOURNEY! What would a Neumont accepted student event be without an all-things-game student social? After a day full of immersing yourself in all things Neumont, finish off the evening with Nacho Average Game Night with current and visiting students. Fill your belly with nachos and snacks as you battle your fellow Neumontians in board, card and console games. The headlining event will be a Super Smash Bros Tournament, with prizes for the top three winners. Sign up to participate in the tournament here, but remember to use your real name so we can call you when it’s your turn.
  5. CHECK OUT WHAT OTHER FReXERS ARE DOING! Now that you’ve registered, made your travel plans, booked your hotel and signed up to rule at the SSB tournament, now what?!?  We suggest heading over to Schools App and connecting with other accepted students. Make friends before you come to visit and your time at Neumont will only be sweeter.

If that’s not enough, you can always head over to accepted.neumont.edu and submit your Enrollment Agreement. Word on the street is there’s going to be a special bonus for those who’ve completed this step at FReX.

A Change of Pace

Neumont University

Dani Meyer knew Neumont University was the right college when she visited campus during Freshman Experience in 2015. The small classrooms and computer science focus put her at ease that transferring from the University of Wisconsin was the right choice for her career. 

After taking Databases in her first year at Neumont, she was inspired to tackle the challenges of software development and declared her major in computer science. She says, "With databases, I want to find out the solutions of these problems, and I want to find a better way of doing things."

When it comes to finding solutions, Dani is willing to put in the work required. She manages to consistently make the Dean's List and stays busy on campus as a Resident Advisor and Student Ambassador. Roles in which she helps future and current students navigate life at Neumont. A life that can sometimes be difficult, especially for a woman looking to make it in an industry with a shortage of women working in the field. Dani says, "It's a fun thing to try and excel in your program and show that you can be an innovator just like anybody else."

Watch the video above to hear Dani share her story of why she chose Neumont. 

Can't wait to join the Neumont community? Submit your Application for Admission by Monday, March 27 and automatically be considered for merit-based financial aid. 

I Chose Neumont

Neumont University

Neumont is a big choice with even bigger results. And we want to highlight the individuals who choose to join the Neumont community. The students, alumni, staff, faculty, and parents who make up our small community both online and in-person. We know choosing the right college can be daunting, but every year we're honored with new students and their families who choose us. 

We've heard some amazing stories, like Communications Instructor Jeremiah Harrison who's father pushed him to finish his master's degree. And now he teaches our students here helping them to change their lives and create a better future. 

And Computer Science Instructor Josh Krebs who graduated from Neumont, worked in the tech industry, and returned to the college to teach because he helping students learn and grow is one of the most rewarding experiences of his life. 

We also heard from Interim Computer Science Instruct Matt Warner who came to Neumont five years ago after more than 10 years in the industry. He says, "I see the classroom as a conversation between myself and whoever else is in the classroom. Education is a path that we walk together." He enjoys helping students understand technology and seeing them use their knowledge, skills, and experience to transform their lives. 

We've been delighted, humbled, awed, and amused by the stories coming in across social media as students, alumni, and parents share why they chose Neumont. We hope to continue to see your stories online and hear them in person. Thank you for being a part of what makes the Neumont community a special place. 

What are Enterprise Projects about?

Neumont University

One of the secrets to the success of Neumont University graduates in the tech industry is our Enterprise Project program. At Neumont, students don't do internships. They don't provide enough of the hands-on experience required to launch a successful career in technology. And we want every student to graduate into an exciting and fulfilling career.

So we examined traditional education and found that by working with tech companies we could improve our curriculum and provide students with the hands-on experience they need. We've done this by creating Enterprise Projects. 

A team of Neumont University students completed an Enterprise Project with 1-800 Contacts. During the course of the project, students learned how to adapt Applitools and Selenium to 1-800 Contacts websites providing automated QA across browsers and devices.

An Enterprise Project is when a small team of students joins a company like IBM, eBAY, Nike, Pluralsight, Workfront, Oracle, 1-800 Contacts, Wobbl3 Entertainment, Willis Towers Watson, and more. The student team then works with a Neumont instructor and a company manager to create software development solutions over the course of a 10-week quarter. 

During their senior year, Emerson Shaffer and Jacob Meyers completed an Enterprise Project with the team at Wobbl3 Entertainment, an indie game dev studio in Salt Lake City, to bring the game DubWars to PC. The game is now available on Steam.

Of the more than 418 projects Neumont students have completed with more than 94 companies across the US, we've seen projects like automated QA testing, video game development, mobile app development, data visualization tools, and more.  

Some students will complete an Enterprise Project with the same company for up to three quarters. Other students will move to different companies. All students are required to fulfill a variety of roles throughout their senior year on each project. Each student spends up to 20 hours a week on an Enterprise Project to complete the credits required for graduation. 

With experience like this, it's no wonder 77% of Neumont graduates accept a job offer before they graduate.* They have the skills and experience needed to push technology forward for companies in all industries. 

If you would like to attend Neumont this fall, submit your application at www.neumont.edu/apply

If you are a company looking to hire Neumont students or would like to complete an Enterprise Project with us, please contact Director of University Relations Teresa Zundel at 801-302-2807 at tzundel@neumont.edu

*Employment statistic is calculated using data from the 2013-2015 Neumont University graduates. Neumont verifies employment and date of employment offer by employers in writing. Neumont does not guarantee employment for future graduates.

Utah STEM Expo

Neumont University

Students and faculty braved a snow storm to attend the fourth annual Utah STEM Expo at the South Towne Expo Center on Saturday, January 21. 

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Current students including Thadius Novak and Kyle Kacperzynski showed off some of their recent projects to help middle and high school students understand what they can do with a bachelor's degree in computer science. 

Software development gives coders the know-how and tools to create whatever they can think of from video games to automated musical compositions to websites that teach math. The four seniors also shared what their experiences at Neumont University have been like with interested students. 

If you would like to request more information from Neumont, go here. And if you would like to start classes at Neumont this fall, apply now

Neumont University Congratulates 2017 Capstone Project Invitational Winners Tyler Berry and Kyle Kacprzynski

Krista Smith

Neumont University, a university offering bachelor’s degrees in computer science and related fields, congratulates Tyler Berry and Kyle Kacprzynski as the winners of the university’s Capstone Project Invitational held on Friday, January 13 at the Salt Lake City Public Library in downtown. The two winners were chosen from five finalists out of more than 40 projects. 

The Industry Award went to Kyle Kacprzynski (Cleveland, Ohio) who created “Mydi MIDI”— a live sheet music composer application that can utilize a computer keyboard and speakers or a USB-enabled MIDI keyboard. Kacprzynski will graduate from Neumont this spring with a bachelor’s degree in web design and development.

Tyler Berry (Colorado Springs, Colo.) took home the Alumni Choice Award for “NU Code”— a competitive coding challenge website (think “Code Wars”) which compiles and executes code remotely. Berry will graduate from Neumont in March 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. He plans to start his tech career as a software engineer at Google in September. 

“Capstone is a senior project on steroids,” said Dr. Aaron Reed, chief operating and academic officer, “and perhaps the most intense and rewarding individual component of Neumont’s curriculum.”

In capstone projects, students imagine and develop a project from the ground up in 10 weeks on their own. By completing their capstone project, students prove they are ready to begin the pinnacle of Neumont’s project-based experience: Enterprise projects where teams of students work with industry-leading companies on enterprise-level projects. 

“Our Capstone Project Invitational is an opportunity to showcase the best-of-the-best of our students’ creative and problem-solving acumen,” President Shaun McAlmont explained. 

According to McAlmont, “This endeavor to create, build and fully execute at this level of competency is a fundamental piece of Neumont’s project-based learning curriculum and why Neumont graduates have the successful outcomes they do year after year.” He said referring to the 97 percent of Neumont graduates are employed in the field of computer science within six months of graduation with an average starting salary of $63,000.

Neumont offers Bachelor of Science degrees in computer science and related disciplines in three years. Neumont was founded in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2003 to fill the growing national demand for industry-ready technology professionals by offering an accelerated degree that immerses students in a rigorous, project-based curriculum

2016 Holiday Message from the President of Neumont University

Shaun McAlmont

As 2016 winds to a close, there is a natural tendency to look back on the last year and the change that it has brought. For many of us, 2016 was an unusually difficult year with many changes and challenges. Neumont was no exception. Below are a few of the changes our institution went through in the last year.  

  • We graduated the largest class ever from Neumont in March. 
  • We hired new staff and faculty to fill open and new roles as long-time staff and faculty moved on to new chapters in their careers throughout the year. 
  • In July, we saw the start of an official Neumont Alumni Association to help our graduates continue to stay in touch with one another and connected to the university.
  • We applied to a new accreditor, prior to the U.S. Department of Education’s decision that the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools could no longer accredit institutions of higher education. The process continues according to plan. 
  • We started the largest class of freshmen than ever at Neumont in September. 
  • We taught a couple classes online to help accommodate our growing student body this last quarter. 
  • And we hosted and participated in more events on our campus and in Salt Lake City throughout the year than ever before.

I am proud of Neumont’s community including staff, students, faculty, and alumni for rising to the challenges this last year presented and moving forward together as we continue our focus on offering an unparalleled computer science education. 

We look forward to a rewarding year in 2017. We wish you all a wonderful holiday and joyful new year. 

Shaun McAlmont
President
Neumont University