About Computer Science
The Department of Computer Science at Elizabethtown College is all about hands-on experiences. We don’t believe that students should sit in a room and hear lectures. We believe that students should be able to get involved with hands-on projects early on.
Students learn best by doing, including learning by taking things apart just to figure out how to put them back together. Computer Science is perfect for anyone who likes figuring out how technology works and exploring the vast array of possibilities that computing offers us. The Internet has brought people together, but it has also created new risks to information and privacy. For that reason, we are proud to be one of the few departments to offer a major in Computer Science in Pennsylvania with a strong focus on computer security.
With the option to test in or out of classes, students of all ability levels can explore their interests with courses of varying difficulty. We encourage students with little to no experience to enroll in an introductory computer science course to see what it is like. Students with years of experience are more than welcome to enroll in refresher courses or more difficult courses from their first year. All majors within our department strive to be flexible and accommodate students of all abilities. We encourage all of our students to study abroad; however, planning ahead is vital when paired with a Computer Science degree.
There is no shortage of internships and jobs in computing disciplines in Pennsylvania and beyond. With alumni working in a variety of fields, we have connections to help students find internships where they can apply their knowledge to a wide variety of industries.
A few of the many companies where our students have been hired for jobs or internships in Pennsylvania include Cargas Systems, Trifecta Technologies, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney and Phoenix Contact. On the national level, our students have secured jobs or internships at some of the most competitive companies and organizations, such as Amazon, Google, the National Security Agency (NSA), NASA and NCIS.
Computer Science as a field is changing. One misconception is that it is about sitting at a desk and staring at a screen all day. Employers are looking for workers excited about collaboration and exploring different ways to develop software and use it to solve problems from healthcare to structural engineering to social media. It is also a field exploding with jobs. Our department has nearly 100% job placement for our students immediately after graduation.
A second misconception is that Computer Science is the same as Information Technology. Although the two fields share some tools, IT installs and operates the incredible software and hardware that Computer Engineers and Computer Scientists work hard to build, design and develop.
There are two different majors offered by the Computer Science department. They are related, but each has a unique perspective on the field.
Etown’s School of Engineering, Math, and Computer Science has been honored by the American Society for Engineering Education’s (ASEE) Diversity Recognition Program , earning Bronze Level recognition. ASEE’s bronze category is the highest level issued to institutions during the 2021-22 submission cycle and recognizes the School among the nation’s leaders in inclusive excellence. Etown was one of just nine institutions in the nation to receive the recognition. The Diversity Recognition Program was created by the ASEE to publicly recognize those engineering and engineering technology units that make significant, measurable progress in increasing diversity, inclusion, and degree attainment outcomes of their programs.
From the Department of Computer Science
Contest explores statistical programming knowledge
Etown’s Data Analytics Center sponsors competition.
This spring, Timothy McDevitt, professor of mathematics, asked his DAT 315 Machine Learning class to ‘predict the fates of animal shelter dogs based on possible variables.’ It is the second year the competitive exercise, sponsored by the College’s Data Analytics Center, tested skills in ‘R’ programming language and software. Brian Stottler ’18, math and computer science, took first-place for $250; junior actuarial science major Tim White, landed the $150 second prize, and Melissa Spencer, a junior English major, won $100 for third. Students built a predictive model, based on data provided by McDevitt. Those whose models performed the best, according to a test set, were winners.
“The purpose is to increase student skill in building predictive models and to generate enthusiasm.”
Etown announces SAS-data analytics joint certificate program
Offers real-world learning with regional firms
Elizabethtown College has partnered with analytics company SAS to offer a joint certificate for students in the College’s data analytics minor. SAS is a data analytics powerhouse with customers in 149 countries. The certificate is specifically for students in the data analytics minor with a capstone course, providing in-demand skills for the digital age and real-world learning opportunities. Upon completion, students receive the SAS certificate along with their diploma, allowing them to compete at a higher level compared to other programs, opening opportunities to jobs they might not have been prepared for without the SAS certificate.
From the Department of Computer Science
Nicolette Siermine ’17 majored in applied mathematics; minored in data analytics
Sees need for more data science majors in the work world.
“Data science is very hands-on in relating to real-world problems. You utilize your problem-solving skills.”
Although she had a job already lined up at Clark Associates for when she graduated, Nicolette Siermine immediately realized the wide array of career possibilities open to her thanks to her background in applied mathematics and data analytics. Depending on which minor a student takes, data science is applicable in business, computer science and statistics, she said, noting that, with her knowledge base, she could help her manager with decisions on price and inventory at Clark, a food supply service company.
From the Department of Computer Science
Data Science explained
Barry Wittman describes new interdisciplinary major.
“Data Science is the intersection of mathematics, computer science and some other discipline.”
Students can’t be trained fast enough to fill voids in the world of data science, said Barry Wittman, associate professor of computer science at Elizabethtown College. With a background in computer science and math along with another focused discipline, students graduating from the College’s new data science major will have limitless career options. Data scientists, depending on their focus – business, engineering, communication, biology or some other area -- are hired by banks, big retail, NASA, laboratories, research companies and media.
Get Involved in Computer Science
The Etown Computer Science Club (CS Club) is a student-led group that meets two hours each week for a number of activities. The CS Club hosts technical talks, resume preparation and mock interview sessions, and game nights in addition to providing a place for students to come together to work on their own projects. Members of the CS Club practice programming problems and send teams to compete in the annual ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest as well as regional programming competitions. Dr. Wittman serves as faculty advisor for the club.
While Computer Science does not require a study abroad experience as part of our graduation requirements, all students are encouraged to study abroad at some point during your four years, whether as a semester-long program or as an elective three-week intensive cultural course. Students planning to study abroad should talk to their advisor to plan when and how course requirements can be completed. Students often go abroad as part of completing a foreign language minor.