GVSU Computer Science majors Gloire Rubambiza and Frank Wanye were classmates in their first programming course at Grand Valley State University almost four years ago. Now both have been accepted by several universities to pursue their graduate degrees next fall.

Gloire was born and raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo, came to the US as teenager and finished high school in West Michigan. Gloire took part in the McNair Program at GVSU under the supervision of Professor Jerry Scripps.  The results of their research on how to improve  Internet connectivity in Africa will be published in the McNair Journal. Gloire spent last summer at the University of Colorado Boulder as a research intern. His focus was the measurement and statistical analysis of submarine Internet cable performance. Gloire was a refugee cultural mentor and ESL Tutor at Samaritas in 2016.

Frank was born in Kharkov, Ukraine and raised in Ghana.  He went to high school at the International Community High School in Kumasi  and then came to GVSU to pursue his undergraduate degree in computer science. Frank is very interested in the field of neural networks. He has been pursuing his interests with the advice of CIS Professor Greg Wolffe. Frank presented his results at Student Scholarship Day last year and also won the Kindschi Undergraduate Research Fellowship in the Sciences.

When asked what advice they would give to first year students in  the School of Computing at GVSU, Gloire answered:
“Utilize the tutoring resources available to you in the student services building,  especially for the introductory courses.
Be persistent in your work and go to office hours (daily if you are taking CIS 451 with Dr. Kurmas).”

When asked the same question, Frank answered: “Try to master the material in the introductory classes –  it will make the following classes much easier.  Also, pay attention to the notice boards around campus – there are a ton of events with free food!”.

Gloire and Frank were also asked about their most unforgettable experience at GVSU. Gloire’s response was: “To explain deadlock in our OS Concepts class,  Dr. Wolffe’s impersonation/analogy of the awkwardness of two strangers running into each other  in and out of a room made the entire class burst into laughter while ingraining the idea deeply into our brains.”

Frank’s response was: “I guess my most unforgettable memory would be my first day at GVSU.  The day itself is kind of hazy in my memory, but I clearly remember being pleasantly surprised by  how pretty the campus was and how helpful everyone on campus was.  That happened to be my first day in the US as well, so the experience went a long way  to helping me feel like I could succeed here.”

Morgan Oneka came to GVSU with 30 credits of Advanced Placement coursework.  She has been a student at the Honors College. During her four years of undergraduate studies at GVSU, Morgan pursued two majors, Computer Science and Mathematics, and a minor,  Mathematical Statistics.  Morgan was also a recipient the 2018 Glenn A. Niemeyer Award, one of GVSU’s highest academic honors.

Morgan is a member of the board of the “Women in Computing” student organization.  She has been an outstanding lab assistant for CIS162 for several years.  According to the instructor she has been helping,  Morgan explains concepts very well to her fellow students. Morgan has been conducting research with the advice of Professor Gerg Wolffe  in the field of Computational Biology.

Last summer, she was selected for a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)  program Biomathematics at the Florida Institute of Technology . Morgan has been accepted into the Ph.D. program in  Bioinformatics at the University of Michigan.

When asked, “What advice would you give to first year students in the School of Computing at GVSU?”, Morgan answered:
“My advice for first year students is to get to know other people  in the department. Professors and older students have great advice to share!”.

Morgan was also asked about her most unforgettable memory at GVSU. Morgan’s response was: “My most unforgettable memory at GVSU was when I attended the  2015 Michigan Conference for Women in Computing.  I met many great people and learned about interesting research It was an experience that confirmed my interest in computer science
and motivated me to pursue research.”

Gloire will soon be heading off to his PhD studies at Cornell University.  Frank has been accepted into PhD programs at Virginia Tech, University of Texas – Dallas, and Michigan State University, but is still deciding which program to pursue.  Morgan will soon begin her PhD studies at the University of Michigan.

The GVSU School of Computing and Information Systems has continued to see an increasing number of its undergraduates pursue graduate studies upon graduation.  According to CIS professor, Dr. Greg Wolffe who has advised many of these computer science students over the years, “Getting to work on a challenging research problem of your own choosing, and demonstrating the ability to see it through to a successful conclusion, sets a pretty compelling standard for the rest of your life.”

Congratulations to Frank, Gloire and Morgan on their accomplishments.  We wish them well in their graduate studies and their careers afterwards!  We trust they will be “Lakers for a Lifetime” and continue to be wonderful ambassadors for GVSU!

Article contributed by Dr. Christian Trefftz, GVSU School of CIS.