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A History of ADU
Faculty and Alumni

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Faculty | Students | Teaching Assistants

Thirty-six students chose to attend ArsDigita University. Backgrounds included medicine, law, journalism, the humanities, social science, mathematics, engineering, and the arts.

The level of prior computer experience varied from almost none to self-taught network administration and professional programming. Age ranged from 22 to 68. The initial female to male ratio was 1 to 5. Two students dropped out, seven finished a substantial portion of the program, and 27 completed all requirements

"I've learned more about things that I wouldn't have studied, because I would have gotten tired, and would not have gotten the feedback and wouldn't have had the camaraderie and team spirit...It's been extraordinary. I've never been surrounded with such a crew."
- Todd Sjoblom, Student

Doug Anderson
Ellensburg, WA

As a native of the Pacific Northwest, I love the outdoors and while studying for 3 years in France and Switzerland, I became seduced by the wonders of geology. After three wonderful years of swinging wine glasses and rock hammers in the Alps, I brought my French bachelor's degree in geology home so that I could do a Master's degree in geochemistry. Two years on a stable isotope line taught me that it was really the joy of learning cool new stuff, understanding how things work and solving problems that attracted me to science. I realized that there are few better ways to constantly learn cool new stuff and solve practical problems than to work in computer science, especially when an opportunity to learn it from some of the best teachers was available, at ArsDigita University.

Since completing the challanging year at ADU, I have moved back to the Northwest and am living in Seattle. Unfortunately the tech market out here is not that conducive for new entries so I have been using my non-computer languages (French and German) to pay the bills. In my spare time I am working on "eatingseattle.com", a web community devoted to the culinary pleasures that can be had in the Seattle area. This community is being developed on Linux, with an Apache server, and PostgreSQL. Sometime this fall, those of you in Seattle will be able to start discussing your favorite foods and places to get them. You might learn a few new secret spots while you are at it!

Blake Asdorian
San Diego, CA

I am a native of Silver Spring, MD. I hold a B.A. in Physics from Rutgers University, with a minor in Classics. During my undergraduate years, I worked in the atmospheric physics division at the Naval Research Laboratory. Since then I have worked in the biochemistry teaching lab at the University of Chicago. In the past I have been a performing musician, playing in various clubs around the D.C. area. Presently my interest has shifted back to languages, and I am most interested in learning Spanish at the moment.

Andrew Bangert
Lewiston, ME

Michael Carpenter
Waltham, MA

Donna Carr
Wellesley, MA

Donna was born and raised in Wellesley, Massachusetts. However, she decided to get away from it all and attended college in Washington, D.C., Munich, Germany, and finally graduated with a B.A. in Germanic Studies from Boston College. She liked B.C. so much that she decided to stay there and get a Master's in Linguistics. While studying for her M.A., she was granted a Fulbright Fellowship to Austria where she studied at Klagenfurt University and taught EFL at a local college preparatory school. Donna has worked in the Boston area as an ESL teacher, a translator and a ballroom dance instructor. For the last two years she has been employed as the Academic Coordinator of International Programming at the Boston Kaplan Center. Her hobbies include skiing, (and now shredding), hiking, biking, gardening (when she has time), and of course, languages.

Christopher Crick
Oceanside, CA

After growing up in Oregon and studying Medieval history at Harvard, Chris bounced around Europe and the Pacific Northwest for a while chasing terrorists and whales, respectively. ADU returned him to that happy state of brilliant conviviality known as being a student, and taught him cool stuff, too. In fact, he loved it so much that he returned to school yet again, back at Harvard for another round. This time it was graduate work in computer science, focusing on probabilistic reasoning and computational linguistics. Such study prepared him for his current line of work, doing AI research for a small company in southern California.

Gary Dmytryk
Cambridge, MA

Gary Dmytryk comes to ADUni with a background in cultural anthropology and psychology. He attended Dartmouth so he could ski a lot, and, after starting as a math major, he graduated with an interdisciplinary philosophy major. Next, he made the mistake of going to graduate school. While a student of anthropology and African Studies at Stanford, two separate dissertation projects had to be cancelled because of the interference of two civil wars. Nonetheless, he completed his master's degree in anthropology and also trained in clinical psychology while waiting for the research visas from Africa that never arrived. Some years later, though, he managed to con a California foundation out of a lot of money so he could do some ethnographic research, this time in peaceful and beautiful northern Thailand. Upon returning stateside, he has been doing clinical work with Southeast Asian refugees, and has worked for human rights in Burma. His inner child, however, is a math nerd, and has led Gary to enroll here, just down the street from his home in Cambridge .

Bryon Gill
Pittsburgh, PA

Bryon originally hails from Erie, Pennsylvania, but has lived in Pittsburgh for the last ten years or so. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with Bachelors in Philosophy. Bryon participated in policy debate throughout his academic career, finishing with a top 25 performance at the 1996 National Debate Tournament. His band, the Bryon Gill Trio (http://www.geocities.com/bgtrio), will meet an untimely end when he travels to Boston. Bryon's other interests include politics, writing, and retro board games.

Andrew Hall
Jamaica Plain, MA

Born in Ohio and raised in Texas, I graduated from Plano Senior High School and moved on to Michigan State University where I received a bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduation, I took a job working as a product engineer for a defense contractor in Redondo Beach, CA. I worked there less than a year before being downsized; the company never landed the contract they had hired me, and several other fresh faced engineers, to work on. Rather than continuing in such a volatile industry, I took a job with a software company in Waltham, MA. The work was not particularly challenging, so I spent my spare time working towards a masters in linguistics at Harvard Extension School. All of that was put on hold while I spent a year at arsdigita university, which was a fantastic experience.

Now, I am back in the software industry, working again in product management, but with a much better perspective on the development process, as well as software technology. Is that what I'm supposed to say?

Peter Hayashi
Boston, MA

Therese Hendricks
Boston, MA

Since graduating from high school in 1974, Therese has obtained B.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Materials Science, and a J.D.(law) degree. Therese is now a partner practicing intellectual property law with a Boston law firm. A native of Chicago, Therese spent five years in New York city before moving to Boston. Her leisure interests include the visual arts -- particulaly ceramics and painting. She is a pianist, studying with classical pianist Tatyana Dudochkin, of the New England Conservatory. Therese has two children, John(13) and Meg(11), and lives in the Back Bay with her children and spouse, Larry. Therese's law practice is primarily patent prosecution and litigation for small to mid-size businesses. She makes oral arguments in and tries cases before the Federal Courts on behalf of her clients, in addition to pursuing IP protection for her clients.

Tom Hickerson
Cambridge, MA

Tom Hickerson was born and raised in Texas, but has only recently came back to the US after working four years in Russia and Ukraine as a government contractor for the US Information Agency. He graduated in 1994 with a BA in Russian Language and Literature from the University of Texas in Austin. Other educational institutions attended include Bard College in New York state and the Herzen Pedagogical Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Currently, he is working as an Associate Developer for e-guana.net, in Cambridge, MA, while earning his MSCS/MALD at Tufts University. His brushes with celebrity have included having lunch with Michael Dell, riding in an elevator with Spike Lee, and shaking the hand of Ethan Hawke.

Andrew Kinnie
Watertown, New York

I was born and raised in Watertown, New York. I graduated from High School in 1982, and then received my undergrad Bachelors in History (honours - Canadian Spelling) from Queen's university in 1986. After Queen's I attended a French language and Civilization program at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. From 1986-1988 I attended the Royal Military College of Canada, as the first American civilian to be admitted into their "War Studies" Master's degree program, receiving my degree in 1991. In 1990, I entered Law School at Albany Law School of Union University, Albany,New York. Since graduation in 1993, I was admitted to the bar and have been practicing Law in Watertown, New York as a partner in the Kinnie Law Firm. From 1988 -1996 I was involved in retail sales of Computers and software,and from 1991- 1996 I had a small computer consulting business as an additional business interest. I have been involved in and fascinated by computers since 1989. This program offers me the opportunity to build upon my fascination with computers, and get a top quality education with the focus and depth I have always desired.

Samuel J. Klein
Burlington, VT

Loved every minute.

Erica Klempner
Cambridge, MA

Anthony Lim
Boston, MA

Anthony Lim graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University in 1998 with a degree in Human Biology. He spent the following year studying Mandarin intensively at Qinghua University in Beijing, fulfilling his lifelong personal dream to learn his native language. Upon returning to the U.S. after his year abroad, Anthony began working in Boston as a management consultant for Bain & Company. His work on a number of healthcare-related cases emphasized the critical role that the Internet and computer technology will increasingly play in the health care sector. Inspired to gain a thorough understanding of computer science prior to pursuing a career in medicine, he will spend this next year attending ArsDigita University. Originally from San Diego, CA, Anthony currently lives with his older brother and sister-in-law in Brookline, MA. His interests include tennis, reading, dancing, and hiking.

Kevin McCulloch
San Francisco, CA

Kevin McCulloch grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and has a BA in religious studies from Haverford College. He currently lives in San Francisco where he works as a data systems consultant for nonprofit organizations. He is the facilitator of the Continental Unitarian Universalist Young Adult Network and a volunteer mediator for Community Boards.

Rob Monn
Manhattan, NY

Robb is originally from Waynesboro, PA. In 1992 he moved to Washington D.C.where he studied poetry and literature at The George Washington University, played in Razor 18 and the jazz trio Julia Galaxy and met his wife, Jennifer, who convinced him to move to New York City in 1998. Since graduating from Ars Digita he has been working as a software developer for the New York Times while Jennifer attends Film School at Columbia University. His cat Samantha is currently between careers.

Greg Oehler
Medford, MA

Originally from Salinas, CA, Greg Oehler moved to the Boston area in September of 1995 to attend Tufts University. In the fall of 1996 he also began studies at New England Conservatory of Music. Greg graduated in May 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Tufts and a Bachelor of Music in jazz composition from NEC. His hobbies include playing jazz guitar, listening to and analyzing music, collecting and reading books, and practicing kung fu.

Seth Plough
Natick, MA

A native of Rochester, NY who has now done time in Virginia, North Dakota, Michigan, and Massachusetts. Seth graduated from the University of Richmond with a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Political Science. At said university, he played on and was captain of their Div. I Water Polo team, which was subsequently abolished. He holds no gripe against the school, which continues to build gorgeous brick buildings while ignoring the abomination that is their web site. They press on heedless of the fact that they will never win a cent by pestering him monthly with glossy photos of the football team. After graduation, he quickly came to the realization that the real money was in sponging off his parents and girlfriend while pursuing a life rich in computer games and java code. As the pool of gamers who can give him a decent challange dwindles, Seth prepares to tackle new challanges at one of them job thingies. He recently discovered that the cool people at topcoder.com actually will hook you up with employers (and cash).

Tony Pryor
Arlington, MA

Before ADU, Tony fell in with a development tools company as a consequence of his software infatuation. He found his time there profitable, but wanted a greater depth of understanding. At ADU he awakened to the simple patterns which are visible, but only gradually discernable, in the leaves and branches of real world software development.

Later, in the aftermath of 9/11, Tony developed software to improve the security of air force communications, including the authorization system for two-person key codes used with nuclear armaments.

Recently he has worked on a variety of homespun projects, including the Godseye Project. Godseye is a geospatial directory, utilizing interactive satellite imagery to enable individuals to effectively share knowledge about their neighborhoods. Tony hopes to popularize "location detailing" as a hobby, akin to grassroots geneaology. He is concurrently seeking work as a developer.

Jeffrey Radcliff
Somerville, MA

Jeffrey has spent the past few years as a graduate student in music composition at the University of Oregon, Eugene, and holds an undergraduate degree in composition and performance from DePauw University in Greencatle, IN. In the past few years, he has been a graduate teaching fellow in music theory and Balinese gamelan, the principal horn of the University Symphony Orchestra, commissioned to write a new work for the Eugene Symphony Orchestra, and learning to write triple invertible counterpoint (among other things). Before moving away from the Cascades, Jeffrey finished a job as Music Director for the University Theater's production of Charles Dickens's 'Nicholas Nickelby,' writing and performing the score. Jeffrey is interested in Ancient and Medieval History, languages, online gaming, literature and a number of numbingly tedious other things.

Neil Rankin
Worcester, MA

I have an engineering degree from Cornell University and a PH.D in psychology from U. C. Berkeley. For the past 20 years I have been teaching psychology, doing research on the perception of objects that take on distinct multiple appearances and writing on the logic of data analysis in behavioral research. I am excited about the possibility of becoming a pioneer in Web-based learning, which I see as the new frontier in education, through my involvement with ArsDigita.

Joseph Rizzo
Drexel Hill, PA

Joe is Joe.

Michael Sisolak
New York, NY

After spending quite an amazing year in Boston at ADU's trial (and unfortunately final) run, Michael returned to New York. Since that time he has continued to do web development work (for GVPi) and a little theatrical stage management (his first career).

Todd Sjoblom
Brookline, MA

Todd was born in Seattle. His last name is pronounced Show-blum. Todd loves languages, and learning (especially science) and got a Ph.D. in linguistics from MIT in 1980. He has worked with computers before and after college, having taught himself the subjects he needed. But this knowledge is not equally deep and well-rounded, and he feels a year at Ars Digita is a great idea.

Sharon Stern
Portland, OR

I enrolled in ArsDigita University to get the formal training in math and computer science that I felt I needed to write better code. Prior to ADU, I designed and built MS-Access databases for small businesses and non-profits. Before that, I spent several years working in non-profit administration and fundraising. My BA degree is in Comparative Literature.

Currently I'm working for SuffixMail, a startup building a web-based email and channel management system. In my spare time, I plot ways to make technology accessible to non-profits. You can reach me at sharon@aduni.org

Edward Valitutto
Baltimore, MD

For most of the past six years I have been studying mathematics, first attending Alfred University and then doing two years of graduate study at Johns Hopkins University. I spent the summer between schools working for the Forest Service in Santa Fe National Forest. I am happy to be back in New England where I can get to the White Mountains for hiking.

Heather Van Aelst
Arlington, MA

Heather grew up in State College, PA before attending Oberlin College. After escaping from Oberlin with an English degree (would you like fries with that?) she landed at aDUni. Post aDUni, she moved to New York to work for Voxiva for several months. Now she's back in the Boston area, serving as aDUni Webmaster and job hunting.

Shyam Visweswaran
Pittsburgh, PA

Shyam grew up in India and studied medicine in Pondicherry - a small tropical town in southern India. Subsequently, he studied Physiology at the University of Illinois and trained as a neurologist at Boston University. He then plunged headlong into a year of wierd stuff like math and programming at ADU. Post-ADU, he is a fellow at the Center for Biomedical Informatics at the Universty of Pittsburgh and pursuing a doctoral degree in computer science. One day, all this, may just help his patients.

Chris Walker
Portland, OR

Geoff Ward
Cambridge, MA

John West
New York, NY

I come to Ars Digita from journalism where I was a correspondent for Reuters news agency, where I covered two wars and three continents in six years before leaving to start a news agency, Out There News, with other Reuters colleagues which runs a network of 40 correspondents around the world. Why move from reporting from the front line to sitting at a desk learning to write code? Because the Internet makes it possible not just to provide bits of information, but whole information systems. To me, creating Web based information systems is a natural extension of journalism: giving people information they need, in a form they can access. This is something I have witnessed in Kosovo and Africa, and I believe it is only just beginning. I come from London, England and my first degree was in Classics from Balliol College Oxford.

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Site last updated: May 14, 2013
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