W&L at Grace Hopper: Are We There Yet?

Six students and one faculty member represented Washington and Lee at this year’s Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Baltimore, MD.   The student-focused conference features both technical and professional development sessions.

Haley, Sam, Cory, and Deirdre at the entryway for the conference

Alicia Bargar ’13, Samantha O’Dell ’15, and Cory Walker ’15 were awarded ultra-competitive scholarships to attend.  Having three scholarship winners from W&L–out of 300 scholarships awarded and many, many more applicants–is quite impressive!  Haley Archer-McClellan ’15, Deirdre Tobin ’15, and Wenda Tu ’14 were generously supported by the Provost’s Office.

All students agreed the conference was an inspiring and motivating experience and the career fair opened their eyes to a lot of opportunities.

Some highlights:

  • Cory won a Ninja Coder t-shirt from Amazon for programming the Fibonacci sequence in Python
  • Wenda met an executive from GE and had an enlightening conversation that covered some diverse topics, including material for Wenda’s Feminist Social and Political Philosophy course.
Haley, Alicia, and Deirdre at the Inner Harbor. The RockIT Science and Systers 25th Anniversary Celebration was held at the Maryland Science Center.

Professor Sprenkle attended the conference as a representative of the GHC Academic Advisory Board, helped lead the Faculty Speed Networking session, helped organize the Faculty Lightning Talks, and served as a judge of the undergraduate student research competition.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Are We There Yet?”  While the answer seems to clearly be “no”, W&L is definitely making strides in the right direction.

CSCI Outreach: Middle-School Students Explore Robots, iPhone Apps

On Wednesday 23 May 2012, Lexington middle-school students supervised by Gifted Education Coordinator Kevin Kendall (pictured above, at right) joined Prof. Simon Levy (above, at left) for an afternoon of building iPhone / iPod Touch apps and learning about wirelessly-controlled robots and related issues. (Steve Goryl photo.)

W&L Computer Science Featured on WVTF

Sandy Hausman from WVTF reported a story about women in computer science at Washington and Lee.  The story features Professor Sara Sprenkle and students Camille Cobb ’12 and Cory Walker ’15.

Professor Whaley Retires after 24 Years of Service

Professor Whaley, third from right, being recognized at commencement with other retiring faculty members.
Professor Whaley, third from right, being recognized at commencement with other retiring faculty members.

Dr. Tom Whaley is retiring after 24 years at W&L.

Professor Whaley joined the Computer Science Department as a full professor in 1987, after holding academic positions in mathematics and computer science and positions as head of ITS at several other institutions. Professor Whaley’s teaching, research, and service as department head were critical in the growth of the department into one of the national leaders among liberal arts colleges. His interest in database management, formal development of algorithms, parallel computing, and digital libraries produced several new curricular and research initiatives in the department. Professor Whaley helped to develop the department’s introductory survey course, which became a model for courses of this type in liberal arts colleges. He worked with dozens of student research assistants on problems in graph theory, parallel algorithms, and Web access to databases. Many of these research projects were interdisciplinary and resulted in published papers and journal articles, as well as honors theses for computer science majors.

Professor Whaley and his granddaughter

The capstone of Professor Whaley’s research activity was as a co-principal investigator of the ALSOS project, a digital library for nuclear issues, which was sponsored by two major NSF grants and which supported interdisciplinary research experiences for numerous computer science students.

While at Washington and Lee, Professor Whaley also became an accomplished mandolin player, often performing with local old-time music groups.

We will miss him!

Sprenkle and Simko’s Research Paper Wins Award

Professor Sprenkle and Lucy Simko ’11‘s paper at the International Conference on Software Testing, Verification and Validation (ICST) won the Best Research Paper Award. ICST is a prestigious conference in software testing (21% acceptance rate) with over 300 attendees. The paper entitled “A Study of Usage-Based Navigation Models and Generated Abstract Test Cases for Web Applications” was done in collaboration with Dr. Lori Pollock of the University of Delaware. The paper was selected out of 35 accepted papers.

the best research paper award
The Best Research Paper Award. It's tricky to get a good picture of it because of how reflective it is.
Professor Sprenkle presenting at the ICST conference

What Is IBM Jeopardy! Challenge?

W&L Computer Science students watched the first episode of the IBM Jeopardy! Challenge in the cozy Hillel House conference room, with large TV.  The CS department provided snacks, while the students provided the conversation and analysis of the game.  At the end of the episode, only the first round of Jeopardy! was played.  Brad Rutter and Watson were tied at $5k, while Ken Jennings had $2K.

Picture taken at the Viewing Party, using Apple's Photo Booth.

Professor Sprenkle at GHC


Professor Sara Sprenkle attended the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Atlanta, GA from September 29-October 2.  The conference brings together women in computing from all over the world, highlights women’s technical achievements, and promotes women’s career interests.

2010’s conference is the 10th in the series and the fourth one Professor Sprenkle has attended.   This year’s conference broke records with a turnout of 2147 attendees representing 29 countries.

Professor Sprenkle served as a member of the Academic Advisory Committee and the Workshop and Panels Selection Committee.  She also moderated a panel called Getting Off to a Great Start in Academia: Advice from the Other Side of the Tenure Track, which attracted about 100 attendees.

prof sprenkle at ghc
Professor Sprenkle takes notes during the Thursday morning keynote.

Grant for New Program for Women In Math and Science

Computer Science Professor Sara Sprenkle and Mathematics Professor Katherine Crowley were recently awarded a 2010 ACS-Mellon Faculty Renewal grant for “On Solid Ground: Building the Foundation for Women Faculty and Students in Math and Science.” The grant supports a program for women in math and science that will begin this fall.

Read more about it in the W&L News Story.