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Neumont College of Computer Science was founded in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2003, to fill the growing national demand for industry-ready technology professionals by offering 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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Neumont College of Computer Sciences's official blogs shares the stories of our students, alumni, faculty, and staff to illustrate the Neumont experience. 

 

Filtering by Tag: student life

'Hour of Code' with Neumont SWE Volunteers and Highland Park Elementary

Neumont University

Last week, Neumont University joined with millions of students across the world to celebrate ‘Hour of Code’ – a nationwide initiative by Computer Science Education Week and Code.org to introduce millions of students to one hour of computer science and computer programming.

A few Neumont students from the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) volunteered their time and talents to help fifth graders at Salt Lake City School District’s Highland Park Elementary School. The SWE volunteers answered questions about technology, what types of jobs they’re planning to have in the future, and what it's like going to school year-round at a computer science focused university. Some of the fifth graders were especially relieved to hear that you don’t have to be Einstein or a straight-A student to code and love computer science. 

We got a kick out of reading the 10 and 11 year-old’s responses about their “Day of Code” experience with Neumont. Check out the press release and read some of the student’s reviews below.

“I learned that technology is cool to study. I learned that there is a technology college. I learned that there is no summer in technology school. I learned that technology is very interesting.” 
“I learned that you can make any game you want. But you have to work very hard to get an education and go to college.” 
“It was great. I learned how to code Minecraft.” 
“I liked how [Neumont] came and led us on the 'Hour of Code.' They are so nice, and they will help us figure out the problems on the computer. Even if they are like 10 years older than us, they are so nice. I can’t stop saying how nice they are to us. I love math and science.” 
“Today, I learned to code you don’t have to be good at math or science cause to be truthful I am so so so so so so bad at math and science.” 
“I learned technology is way cool. I love the people that taught us the stuff today. They are so cool. I am so glad and grateful they came today. I learned a lot more today than I was suppose.”
“I learned that coding is fun! You can make video games which is awesome! When you go to [Neumont] you get no summer vacation! You don’t have to be a genius to go to Neumont University! You can work for Google and other companies. CODING IS AWESOME!”
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“I liked learning about how these students are accomplishing. I liked hearing what they want to be when they grow up. It was fun. Thank you.” 
“I love the code game because it makes me feel like really smart and I love that all of these people are here, and it was amazing, and I want them back!!!!!!” 
“I love coding! My brother will freak out when he hears about Minecraft coding.”
“NU taught me about computer science. They have all made me think what if I want to work with technology and gaming and more. I hope one day I could learn about technology and be a science geek and help others.” 

Holiday Help From Student Affairs

Neumont College of Computer Science

Neumont University's Office of Student Affairs includes (from left to right) Michael Michaud, Larry Crandall, Erin McCormack, John Peppinger, Corrine Padilla, and Alice Nguyen.

Neumont University's Office of Student Affairs includes (from left to right) Michael Michaud, Larry Crandall, Erin McCormack, John Peppinger, Corrine Padilla, and Alice Nguyen.

With the biggest travel days of the year approaching, and (gasp!) the holidays soon upon us, we caught up with Neumont’s Student Affairs leadership to chat a little bit about students being home for break and some signs for parents and caregivers to look for to make sure their student is on the road to success.

Erin McCormack is Dean of Students for Neumont University and Corrine Padilla is Neumont University’s Student Life Coordinator & Housing Program Manager.

NU: What are some easy ways to find out how your student is doing?

EM: Ask them. But if you ask vague and open-ended questions, you’re going to get vague and open-ended answers.

CP: Exactly. Parents should ask specific questions: In what areas are you excelling? Where are you struggling? What skills do you need to learn to be more successful? What time do you get to sleep? What kinds of resources are available to you? For example, is there tutoring and are you using it?

EM: I think if there’s a lack of accountability by the student, that’s a sign that something is wrong – always blaming the teacher or if the student seems really angry about what’s going on at school. Students who own their missteps are in a great position. If we caused something and we know it, we can change it going forward, which creates a sense of control.  Those who blame others feel they are always at other people’s mercy which creates a sense of helplessness that is counterproductive.

NU: How about outside the classroom; are there external factors that can showcase how a student is adjusting?

EM: We’ve seen that a student’s peer group can have a tremendous impact on their success. It seems that an entire group often sinks or swims together. Some groups compete to push each other in their success at school. They get their work done, and then reward themselves with gaming after their assignments are complete. The opposite approach, just getting together to game, makes it hard to succeed.

CP: Ask your student about what they’re doing to fill their time, about their roommates, and if they’re getting along with them – about food, who’s buying and who’s cleaning. What is the division of power and what do those responsibilities look like? Students who are struggling to create a harmonious relationship with roommates are often distracted and overwhelmed. Fixing these issues allows them to focus on school.

EM: Specific questions: "Did you miss any classes? Did you miss any assignments? Why? What are you going to do to prevent missed classes and assignments going forward?"

CP: Ask: “What are some of your favorite activities?” Ask about the types of meals they’re eating and what types of meals they prepare.

Dean of Students Erin McCormack speaks with a student about his project at Project Showcase. 

Dean of Students Erin McCormack speaks with a student about his project at Project Showcase. 

NU: Speaking of food, should parents worry about the clichéd Freshman 15 in their student?

EM: What we see a lot more frequently than weight gain is students who are struggling with weight loss – they’re failing to eat or just prepare meals at all. 

CP: Extreme weight loss or gain – either end of the spectrum is usually a warning sign that something is not right.

NU: So what are some of the other warning signs to look for as signals that a student may be struggling?

EM: If they come home and are playing 15 hours of video games a day while on vacation, you can bet they’re having a similar experience at school.

CP: Sleep schedules are key – if they’re keeping extremely late hours or unnatural sleep schedules on break, it’s an easy insight into what’s happening on campus.

EM: When I see students in The Commons at 8 a.m. over break, I can tell it’s a student that’s going to succeed. If they’ve got the discipline to be up and active on break, I know they’ll go far. They don't have to be up at eight necessarily, but those who sleep until the afternoon on breaks return to school facing a serious battle with getting up on time for class.

NU: We talked about weight loss and gain.  What about other noticeable signs appearance-wise to look for?

CP: Any dramatic change in appearance is a red-flag.

EM: A couple of piercings and dyed hair are a pretty normal college change. Ten piercings? That’s dramatic and is cause for you to explore what's happening with your student.

Student Life Coordinator and Housing Program Manager Corrine Padilla volunteers with the Society of Women Engineers at the Utah Humane Society. 

Student Life Coordinator and Housing Program Manager Corrine Padilla volunteers with the Society of Women Engineers at the Utah Humane Society. 

NU: Additional concerns?

CP: It’s ok to ask to see their grades. Some students will push back saying they’re going to continue to do things on their own, and they should be respected for that. But hiding grades, being angry or skeptical, is not ok.

EM: There’s a delicate balance for parents between being too involved and not at all. There’s overbearing and then there’s oblivious – neither are helpful. Students whose parents are actively involved in their transition to college are more successful. Additionally, college is an expensive investment, and parents have a right to know how their investment is doing.

NU: That’s a good point. You wouldn’t turn over $75,000 of your retirement fund and never check to see how it was doing or where the money was going.

EM: But check in on them as an adult – not just a student. That’s such a big part of what happens here. Students are here for academics, but must simultaneously learn to be adults: manage their time, get to class, choose homework over video games, get along with roommates, buy groceries, budget their money, clean their apartment, cook, and so on.  It’s important to check and see how they are doing with these tasks. Failure in any one of these areas can sabotage school success.  Ultimately, parents should trust their gut. If you think something is amiss, something is probably amiss.

CP: You know your student best.

[This interview has been edited for content and clarity.] 

Student Spotlight: Florence Hernandez

Neumont College of Computer Science

Florence Hernandez lives with a constant smile on her face. Some have even wagered she sleeps in a perma-grin. Her enthusiasm and positivity, coupled with a tenacious love for programming that earned her the votes as Neumont University’s first female class President.

 Whether taking votes at Project Showcase, programming her heart out, or giving a television interview to the press about the new Eccles Theater adjacent to Neumont, Florence is a joyous force to be reckoned with. She hails from North Richland Hills, Texas and is in her second year at Neumont.

We caught up with Florence over email to find a little more about her passion for java, project-based learning and desserts.

NU: First off, how much programming experience did you have prior to coming to Neumont?

FH: Before I came to Neumont, I took a year of computer science at Birdville High School. My teacher, Mr. Dix, was excellent and really pushed me to understand code. He could see my passion for it, and I am thankful that he started me on my path to coding success.

NU: And your favorite programming language?

FH: My favorite programming language is definitely Java! I'm a java baby—I started with it and it never stops being interesting.

NU: What’s a project you’ve enjoyed most during your time at Neumont?

FH: The project I enjoyed the most was when I was in my Second Quarter, it was a four person project for object-oriented programming. I was working with my friends: Brandon, AJ, and Nate, and we made a Binding of Isaac Calculator that allowed you to select your character, items, and other collectibles to calculate your damage. I learned A LOT of Java, and how to collaborate in a team. It was really fun and great time. 10/10!

NU: What has been the most surprising thing about your Neumont experience?

FH: The amount of friends that I made as soon as I came here. I was really afraid that being a girl would make people avoid me and dislike me because. This isn't really known as a woman's place. But everything worked out, and I have tons of friends and peers that respect me and my work.

NU: Tell us a tech trend you’re interested in and why.

FH: I'm not really too focused on one tech trend, but I guess I am really involved with any kind of video game news, releases, updates, watching videos of them, what have you. I eat, sleep, and breathe video games so keeping up with them is only natural. 

NU. Finish this sentence: “While attending Neumont, I’ve experienced…”

FH. While attending Neumont, I’ve experienced, independent and project leadership skills, along with collaboration on an industry level.

NU: And looking towards the future: what's your dream job? 

FH: My dream job for my career is to work at Google. However, I would like to be an entrepreneur and open my own coding bakery, kind of like a Starbucks but for coders and with tons of desserts.

[This interview has been edited for clarity.]