Undergraduate Students

Graduate Students

Undergraduate Students

Krishnapavan Pinnamaneni“Keep working hard with dedication.”

Krishnapavan Pinnamaneni - India
Major: Computer Science

I chose USD because it is well known for its computer science major. When I thought of transfering from another university, I found USD to be a better option.

My most inspiring professor was Doug Goodman. He motivated and helped me finish my major and encouraged me while I was working as a teaching assistant. The teaching assistant role improved my teaching skills and helped me become a software engineer.

My favorite part about USD was how friendly the atmosphere and staff were in the Computer Science Department.

As alumni of USD, my best advice to you is to keep working hard with dedication.

Kenn Pike“Get experience while you're in school.”

Kenn Pike Major: Computer Science

I chose USD because I really enjoyed the size of the campus. It was easy to get anywhere you wanted to be by bike in a matter of 5-10 minutes. I chose to pursue a master’s degree in computer science because the job availability after graduating would be great.

My most inspiring professor was Doug Goodman. At first I did not like his teaching method because it was very difficult however, through my years at USD, I never learned more in any other class than I did in his classes because of the difficulty. He was always willing to sit down and help you with assignments or explain things to you until you understood them. In retrospect, I miss attending those classes.

In addition to my studies, I was involved in an assistantship with Carol Lushbough which helped me learn web programming.

Currently I am a production support/development I for Metapayment Systems, a division of Metabank in Sioux Falls, SD. I work in application support and do some development as well.

As alumni of USD, my best advice to you is to get experience while you're in school. Get an assistantship, internship or a summer programming job. If you're looking to get a job in the Sioux Falls or surrounding area, you're going to need years of experience, or a good reference from someone who already works in a company. I found it difficult to get a job because every place hiring wanted 2-3 years of experience. If you start getting that experience right away while you're in school, it will definitely help make your life easier when you graduate.

Shuai Li“Get involved in student organizations.”

Shuai (David) Li - Shenyang, China
Major: Computer Science

I chose USD because it's the flagship of South Dakota with reasonable tuition rates.

My most inspiring class was Algorithms and Data Structures because it taught me how to systematically solve algorithm problems. I built a lot of confidence from this class which I continue to use today as a software engineer for Aehr Test Systems in California.

My favorite part about USD was joining Phi Delta Theta fraternity. I made a lot of friends and learned a lot about U.S. culture. I was the historian for Phi Delta Theta, in which I was the first international student holding a position within my fraternity. At the same time I kept a 3.92 GPA. I hope my experience can influence other international students to get involved in USD organizations.

As alumni of USD, my best advice to you is to get involved in student organizations and at the same time keep a decent GPA.

William Conn“The small class sizes allow personalized attention to the students.”

William J Conn - Volin, SD
Major: Computer Science

I chose USD because of its close proximity from where I live and it offered a major that satisfied my lifelong love of computers and science.

My most inspiring class was Software Engineering. It shows you how software development is done in the workplace and you get to create an working website with a team.

In addition to my studies, I had the opportunity to have an internship with the Bioinformatics team.

My favorite part about USD is it has a friendly, open atmosphere in the Computer Science Department and you can get personal help from the instructors. The small class sizes allow personalized attention to the students.

As alumni of USD, my best advice to you is don't overlook USD. It has some great opportunities for students and they are improving the department every year. Just recently a new employer moved into the area and will be looking for new interns and graduates in the next several years.

Graduate Students

Prakriti Rajbhandari“Small sized campus where I would not be lost, so safe that I could stay at library till late nights.”

Prakriti Rajbhandari
Computer Science Master's Program

I stumbled upon USD by accident. I am from Nepal and given the fact that there are thousands of great Universities in USA, it is really a hard choice. I had accidently sent in my GRE scores to USD and one day I received a very kind e-mail that walked me through my next steps for applying. I researched about the University and it was perfect; small sized campus where I would not be lost, so safe that I could stay at library till late nights and the best part I got a Graduate Assistantship.

I came with very limited programming knowledge and I remember when I took Rich Internet Applications my very first semester; It required knowledge of at least 4 different programming languages. I thought I would never pass it but I ended up getting an A just because Dr.Goodman was always available, his assignments would always be so tough but the sense of accomplishment of getting it done and the amount of knowledge at the completion of his class would overshadow the struggles.

My second semester I remember walking in Dr.KC’s office doubting myself and asking him if I would ever get through his course on Advanced Computer Vision. He was so encouraging, I ended up taking all his courses for following 3 semesters.

Computer Science department is full of professors like Dr.Goodman, Dr.KC , Dr.Lee just to name a few. They are always so supportive, so down to earth that you can always knock on their doors.

I had an offer letter from Wells Enterprises, largest family owned Ice-Cream manufacturer in USA in Feb of 2017; before I even graduated, and I credit USD and CS department for this amazing opportunity.

“Many learning opportunities apart from your course work.”

A. Aafaque - Pakistan
Computer Science Master's Program

I chose USD because of an opportunity of assistantship on Data Science related projects while learning about different Computer Science areas during my Master’s study with affordable tuition fee.

My most favorite class was Algorithms Design and Analysis taught by Dr. Doug Goodman, though it was one the most challenging class with tricky assignments I had but at the end it helped me a lot later to think solutions of complex problems in Big Data and also in Interviews.

I had worked with almost all the faculty of USD Computer Science, but I had really enjoyed and learned a lot while working with Dr. KC Santosh. He gave me opportunities to present my ideas and suggestions while guiding me on different Image processing, Machine learning and Natural language processing projects and contributing to different research work. Dr. KC Santosh helped me out in writing, reviewing and submitting two research papers.

I love the diverse and friendly environment of USD in general where you have so many opportunities to grow and have enjoyed different extra-curricular activities.

Currently, I am working as Software Engineer II with NASA LPDAAC at USGS EROS to research and develop new systems / features for data analysis, ingestion and processing, working along with Data Scientists.

As an alumni of USD Computer Science Department, my advice for students would be select an area of your interest and talk to the teachers and start working on it from day one and try to select the courses that are almost or near to your interest. Get experience via an assistantship/internship, work on some research projects that will boost up your confidence and knowledge before going into industry. Also help and learn from your fellow students and join different organizations like Code Club, ACM and International Student Organizations to learn and build leadership skills.

Kurtis VanGent“The best part about USD is the staff. The majority of them will go above and beyond to help students who are interested.”

Kurtis Van Gent
Computer Science Master's Program

I didn’t choose USD because of it’s reputation, smaller class size, or even the size of the campus. I chose it because it was convenient and nearby. And it was easily one of the best decisions of my life.

The best part about USD is the staff. The majority of them will go above and beyond to help students who are interested. Dr. Goodman (aka “Doug”) introduced me to competitive coding and coached our team to the ACM International Programming Contest World Finals - twice. Dr. KC Santosh provided valuable graduation advice and worked with me to research more into Machine Learning and Computer Vision. Carol Lushbough gave me an assistantship, which helped me to learn real world development skills that come in handy every day.

When I first started at USD, I had no idea where it would take me. Yet today I work as a Developer Programs Engineer for Google in San Francisco - a job I’m comfortable in saying I would not have gotten had I chose a different school.

Should you choose USD (and you totally should), my advice for you is to join the student organizations and don’t be afraid to go to your professors for help. Clubs like Code Club, ACM, and Network Security Club helped teach me the skills I needed to get a good job. And if there is something else you want to learn, talk to someone like Doug or KC - they are always willing to help students that want to learn!

Yograj Khanal“Overall small graduate class size helps us know each other better and get personalized attention from our teachers”

Yograj Khanal
Computer Science Master's Program

The best part of my time as USD was working on Bioinformatics project with Carol. Since we were just students that time and couldn’t contribute much but the foundation of her J2EE development in software engineering class that mapped to RA work help us apply knowledge we learn in real time. Goodman assignments in Compiler were helpful to inspire that if we work hard we can achieve any solutions. Rob database classes were awesome for foundation skills in RDBMS. Overall small graduate class size helps us know each other better and get personalized attention from our teachers. TA/GA/RA funds were very helpful to get financial stress out and focus of study so we get better GPA.

I am now working in National Institute of Health (NIH) in software called BRICS. Basically we help researchers built the customized software to collect data from patient that helps to gather bio markers that help find cures for disease. We have component based module with scalable distrusted architecture that helps get information analyzing from big data using semantic web and RDF. I have worked on different federal agency like Social Security, US Food and Drug Administration,Dept of Labor on different assignment. I have tried to do global certification like Java Architect(OCMJEA6), PMP and trying to OSCP next to stay current and top on state of art technology.

I like to hike, bike and play soccer in my free time. Hope my story inspires future students.