CECS Celebrates 2016 Grads

Computer Science and Computer Engineering graduates said goodbye to fellow students and faculty at Monday’s department graduation in ECS-105.

“You did it. You survived the ups and downs of student life. Now you’re ready to join the hottest field on the planet, which is computing,” said Chair Burkhard Englert, in congratulating the graduates.

“We are helping to solve the world’s problems” in established fields and in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things, said Englert, adding that “It is a great time to graduate with a degree in computer science or computer engineering.”

He emphasized the importance of learning new things and remaining current in a fast-changing field such as computer science and computer engineering.

Alumni Vatanak Vong, an application developer at Molina Healthcare, advised graduates to get used to continual change, keep learning, and be aware that there will be continual competition. Vong, who emigrated to the United States when he was 5 years old, was the first member of his family to earn a college degree.

Englert thanked department coordinators Robin Ikemi and Karyl Anthony, who he called “the heart and soul of the department.”

“We are here to celebrate your success,” said Dean Forouzan Golshani. “This is what it’s all about—preparing you for the next leg of your journey. What’s next is finding your passion. This is one thing Google is not going to be able to help you with.”

The event was an opportunity for graduates to mingle with faculty and fellow graduates. “You will remember those who touched your lives and those who put you on the right track,” Golshani told graduates. “We salute you not as our students anymore, but as our peers.”

Interim Associate Dean Tracy Maples echoed that, saying she still keeps in touch with college colleagues and faculty, even though it’s been decades since she graduated. She invited students to stay in touch via Facebook, Twitter, and the CSULB LinkedIn group. “Tell us all about the good things you’re doing,” she said.

During the event, the department also recognized student achievement with the following awards:

  • Anne Kobata, Computer Science BS Outstanding Student, who earned a Boeing summer internship;
  • Michael Vartan, Computer Engienering Outstanding BS Student, who after completing a Northrop Grumman internship will be starting work at Google;
  • Daan Leiva, Outstanding Graduating Student, who double-majored in computer science and physics and earned a 3.89 GPA;
  • Sarah Shibley, Outstanding Undergraduate Research, who received an honorable mention in a research competition;
  • Raghu Immanemi, Outstanding MS in Computer Science Student, who has a 4.0 GPA and is working at Amazon Web Services.
  • Michael Botsko, Outstanding Department Service, who organized the inaugural BeachHack.