A pair of Idaho State University students will be going down in the history books as the first graduates to earn two advanced degrees from the Department of Computer Science.
On May 7, Porter Glines and Pepo Mena will walk across the commencement stage at Holt Arena as the first-ever graduates to receive a Master of Science in Computer Science and Ph.D. with a concentration in Computer Science, respectively.
“I'm honored to be the first to graduate with the Master in Computer Science,” Porter Glines said. “I feel even more honored when I think of those I've worked alongside who will graduate shortly, and I'm looking forward to seeing the program continue to grow.”
“It is a great honor to be the first Ph.D. with a concentration in Computer Science,” said Pepo Mena. “It shows how much this program has grown in just a short period, and it is also very exciting to know that there will be many more following me in the near future.”
Looking ahead, Porter plans to take his skills into software engineering.
“Porter has been an exemplary student in every way and an example of the type of students we hope to see come through our program,” said Dr. Paul Bodily, Assistant Professor of Computer Science. “It's been a rewarding experience to see him step up to the new and unique opportunities and challenges that, up until the creation of the Master in Computer Science program at ISU a few years ago, were once unavailable to students in Southeast Idaho."
Meanwhile, the newly minted Dr. Mena is looking to stay in academia and become a full-time professor.
“Pepo has been a fantastic student throughout his time at ISU,” said Dr. Leslie Kerby, Associate Professor of Computer Science. “It is fitting that he be the Department of Computer Science’s first Ph.D. in Engineering and Applied Science graduate, paving the way for future students. He will be an excellent professor.”
“Employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 13 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
. Additionally, “the median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $97,430 in May 2021.”
“Computer Science at ISU is on an upward trajectory and offers students the opportunity to study several key areas in the field including data science, software engineering, and cybersecurity,” said Dr. Steve Chiu, Professor and Chair of the Department of Computer Science. “The Department welcomes students who aspire to grow in this exciting profession to join us and work with our outstanding faculty.”
For more information on the ISU Computer Science Department, visit isu.edu/cs