Seeley Swan High learns about computer science

On December 7th the junior and senior classes at Seeley Swan High in Seeley Lake were joined by faculty member Rob Smith, who gave an interactive presentation about computer science.

According to Dr. Smith, students typically don’t realize just how wide a field computer science is, nor how knowing computer science can extend capabilities in other fields.

The students–who had never written a program before–“wrote” their first program by using their bodies (with arms as “flags”) to encode states and iterate through possibilities to find a solution to a data science problem.

Students were surprised to learn of the many computer science job opportunities in Montana, as well as the relevance of computer science to their intended careers.

Computer science graduate student wins UM fall startup pitch

Montana is the number one state for startups two years running, according to the Kaufman group, which analyzes a variety of economic factors in determining the ranking. Are students are among the states’ entrepreneurs.

Evin Ozer, a master’s student in the University of Montana computer science department, won 2015’s annual University of Montana fall startup pitch competition held Dec 14th. The competition was stiff, with 14 other competitors. Ozer is a co-founder of Montana Root Applications, the company behind Ozer’s winning pitch.

The product, called Solar Screen, an innovative approach to skin care. According to the company, “the Solar Screen App monitors the intensity of the sun and alerts you to UV changes via an easy to understand color changing icon.” We congratulate Evin on his winning and wish him luck with his app, which is available at or the Google play store.

Second Annual CS Career Fair

The Computer Science department held the second annual CS Career Fair Thursday October 15th. Over 100 students visited with representatives of a dozen companies representing over 100 open positions in Montana. Students from 17 majors were present, showcasing the job prospects available for all students with CS skills. The fair was held in the University Center atrium.12

Arxan Cyber Security Scholarship

Arxan Technologies is a private cyber security company that provides application protection and anti-tamper solutions for a variety of defense and commercial software.

They are proud to be offering a $2,000 scholarship to one student each semester who can showcase their knowledge, passion, and dedication to advancements in field of cyber security.

Award Amount: $2,000

Number of Awards: 1 per semester

Application Deadlines:

  • Fall Semester: Sept. 30, 2015
  • Spring Semester: Jan. 31, 2016

Eligibility Requirements:
Student must be enrolled in one of the following programs:

  • Cyber Security
  • Computer Science
  • Information Technology
  • Computer Software Engineering

To apply, please visit

Learning programming from blocks

Introductory level programming (CSCI250) students begin programming using simple blocks. According to Professor Johnson, the blocks have several of the hallmarks of computer programs including:

  • a limited vocabulary, they can be placed horizontally, vertically, or flat,
  • infinite expressiveness,
  • and repeating structures.

Most importantly, according to Johnson everyone can stack blocks, and everyone can program computers. What’s more, most people have fun doing it!

The challenge was to make the highest tower possible with 25 blocks.

A student cautions Johnson on proper measuring technique. These structures can fall over easily


Students ponder the arithmetic of creating a higher tower. Limited to 25 blocks, students had to make efficient use of every block.

The blocks have to be stacked oh so carefully to avoid having the entire structure fall to the ground.

Stanford Professor Presents at UM

Dr. Gill BejerGill Bejeranoano (Gill’s homepage) from Stanford, a collaborator with Travis Wheeler, was on campus June 26, and presented to faculty and students in the Interdisciplinary Sciences Building.

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Graduate student receives fellowship for summer 2016

Alex Nord has just been awarded a Center for Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics Graduate Student Fellowship for the summer of 2016. The fellowship will support Alex while he continues research in Travis Wheeler’s lab, where he develops methods that improve biological sequence database search in HMMER (specifically, using spaced seeds to boost both speed and sensitivity in the context of sequence database search with profile hidden Markov models).

Read more at:


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