Current Students

Matthew Bartos

Major: Computer Science

Hometown: Huntington Beach, CA

Why SMU?: I chose SMU because its size allows for individual attention from faculty, while still having the resources and prestige of a large institution. I chose Computer Science because it is an exciting, expanding, and lucrative field.

Experience: Junior Majoring in Computer Science, “Text Mining @ SMU “(Undergraduate Research Position). 

Fun Fact: I love playing volleyball and being a Loyd Commons Resident Assistant on campus!

Yasamin Fozouni

Major: Doctorate of Engineering in Software Engineering

Hometown: Iran

Why SMU?: SMU has a great Software Engineering Master’s program with many options in different areas of specialties. The faculty are very friendly and helpful so I didn’t hesitate to choose SMU for my Doctorate degree as well. I was able to find the project and professor I really liked to work with in no time.  

Experience: Being an adjunct faculty while working on my dissertation has been an awesome experience. It made me realize that I’m truly passionate about teaching. 

Fun Fact: I have a red belt in Taekwondo and broke my ankle twice along the way. 

Clay Harper

Major: M.S. Data Engineering

Hometown: Fort Smith, AR

Why SMU?: I have always loved the city of Dallas and I wanted to attend a school where I could have one-on-one time with professors who care about their students.  The computer science department was a natural fit for me with my skillset, and the teachers have been there to guide me throughout my academic career.

Experience: I am currently a graduate research assistant for the Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security and founding officer of the SMU AI club.  I have worked for small startups along with large corporations including Dialexa, Conversable, and Lockheed Martin.  

Fun Fact: I can make my eyes oscillate back and forth quickly (known as voluntary nystagmus).

Josh Hascall

Major: Computer Science BA, Finance BBA

Hometown: Denver, CO

Why SMU?: Understanding Computer Science is understanding how the most important tool in the world today functions and operates. On top of that, the skills required to be an excellent Computer Scientist are the same skills that make people great team members and problem solvers.

Experience: I’m a Tower Scholar and have worked Computer Science and Data Science for Unum AI, an internet polling company, and for Park Cities Asset Management, a specialty finance company.  

Fun Fact: I’ve hiked over 500 miles!

James Huang

Major: Computer Science

Hometown: Lake Jackson, TX

Why SMU?: Computer Science at Lyle is great for having the flexibility to choose from a wide range of specifications and routes. The discipline solves real world problems. It is practical and allows you to see the outcome of your work.

Experience: I have been involved in the Computer Science Club to help with the SMU Hackathon and worked briefly as a Research Assistant for the Data Mining project at the SMU Democracy Lab. I have also spent the last two summers working as a full stack development intern and a data science intern. Currently, I’m working to improve my data science and machine learning skills to be more involved in the Artificial Intelligence Club.  

Fun Fact: I'm left handed except I play every sport with my right hand.

Sarah Kaiser

Major: Computer Science

Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ

Why SMU?: I knew SMU was a school where I could be involved in a variety of different programs and find leadership within those programs. Computer Science has helped me with my creativity and problem solving skills and to do what I’ve always wanted to, work with technology!

Experience: I am a Lyle Ambassador and have given tours of the Engineering School. I have also spoken at a number of prospective student events. I additionally interned with J.P. Morgan Summer 2020 in their Software Engineer Program. 

Fun Fact: I played basketball for 6 years.

Eli Laird

Major: Computer Science

Hometown: Austin, TX

Why SMU?: I chose Computer Science because I wanted to work in a field that has a significant impact on world. Computer Science is so applicable to all fields so there are no limits to what you can make.

Experience: For the past few years of my undergrad, I have worked as a TA for CS2341 and as the Head TA for CS2341 for a couple of semesters. I have also worked as a Research Assistant for the HuMin Research Lab at SMU Guildhall. I am currently working towards my Masters’ research in Distributed Machine Learning.

Fun Fact: I switched from Mechanical Engineering to CS the first week of freshman year… I wanted to build Formula 1 cars!

Matthew Lee

Major: Computer Science

Hometown: Bedford, TX

Why SMU?: Initially I chose SMU because I wanted to join SMU Guildhall and study Game Design. As I was introduced to all the different application of Computer Science, I realized that CS wasn’t just a way to get into game design for me, but was actually something I really enjoy. I also think SMU is just the right size; large enough to have a student body with a wide range of interests but small enough to have familiar faces in your classes and be able to form relationships with faculty.

Experience: Last year I worked on a project for the Big Ideas design competition and worked on a research project with the Civil Engineering Department. I am also currently working at the Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security.

Fun Fact: I won one of those fan mini-games in between sets at an SMU volleyball game.

Fidelia Nawar

Major: Computer Science

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Why SMU?: I transferred to SMU my sophomore year because of the strong networking opportunities provided by different organizations on campus. I’ve been able to develop my professional community more than I ever thought I would be able to and that was because of SMU’s rigorous academics and the exposure it provided to the engineering community of the DFW area.

Experience: I held 2 on-campus jobs at my previous college’s Information and Technology Services Center in Colorado. I was also a Software Engineering Intern at Fidelity Investments, a Security Operations Intern at McAfee, and am currently a DevOps Engineer Intern at IBM.

Fun Fact: I play the violin and the cello.

Morgan VandenBerg

Major: Computer Science and Math

Hometown: Chandler, AZ

Why SMU?: I have always loved to build things and solve problems. Studying Computer Science allows me to do both of these things on a daily basis, in a high-tech context that I find fascinating.

Experience: During Summer 2020, I completed a Software Engineering internship at Amazon, and formerly worked in the professional consulting industry for six months. I also serve as an undergraduate research assistant in natural language processing, and am an officer for SMU's Artificial Intelligence Club and Robotics Club.

Fun Fact: Before I was a Computer Science major, I was a musician, and had intended to major in cello performance.