Kevin Schaefer '14
• Degree in computer science and mathematics, magna cum laude
• Honors program
• Upsilon Pi Epsilon national honor society for computing and information disciplines
• Helped lead McKendree’s team to 2nd place, 2013 Association for Computing Machinery programming competition
• FIRST Robotics competition volunteer
“I loved being in classes of 7-10 students. I really feel like I got to know the other students and the professor. I genuinely feel like the faculty cared as much about getting to know me and my well-being as they did about pushing me to excel academically and grow as a person.”
Throughout his senior year, Kevin Schaefer '14 worked remotely for his future employer, DuPont Pioneer in Johnston, Iowa. He interned
last summer in the research information management division of Pioneer, a company
that develops and sells hybrid seed and conducts plant research worldwide.
“A company that large and with that much data has some extensive information needs,” Kevin said. “As a software developer intern, I worked on writing software which produces various reports, and helped develop and manage several SharePoint pages. In addition to learning a new programming language, I also got to learn some more advanced web programming, including jQuery, which can be used to make web pages more interactive and interesting.”
The May 2014 graduate is relocating to Iowa to be a full-time software developer, working with the company’s databases and developing its websites - skills he has applied in the university’s Division of Computing lab the past four years.
“My job as a lab worker was something I enjoyed so much I would have done it without getting paid,” he said. “Because of it, I have become exposed to so many different technologies and areas of computing. When you are in a field as fast-paced as technology or computer science, it is very useful to have a wide skill set.”
Kevin was a mainstay in the computer lab, where his professors often found him working on projects or taking the initiative to make a process more efficient. An application he wrote for the Writing Resource Center enabled it to track tutoring activity and students’ progress and cut down on paper work. The program worked so well that the Academic Support Center asked for its own version.
He built a website to complement the McKendree Review student newspaper and helped transition it to something that can be easily maintained by a non-computer science student. “For a computer science student, this was a way of putting your skills to use in a real-life situation on a website that hundreds of users could see each day. Doing something like this offers a unique opportunity to work at so many different levels of the online publishing industry. It was really valuable to me.”
Using open source software has inspired Kevin to help develop an existing open source project or start a new one after he graduates. “When I worked for the McKendree Review and set up our web server, every single piece of software that I decided to use was open source. It didn’t cost the Review or the university anything in terms of licenses. I feel like contributing to the open source community is my way of giving back.”
Learn more about McKendree University and the Division of Computing program.