Campus: Fullerton -- June 8, 2006

Software Engineer Takes Top Honor in First Graduating Class of CSUF Online Degree Program

Laurie Haack of Anaheim Hills has been named "Best Master of Science in Software Engineering Graduate Student" in the first graduating class of Cal State Fullerton's online master's degree program in software engineering.

"Laurie is clearly the best student in this graduating class," said Bin Cong, professor of computer science and coordinator of the master of science in software engineering (MSE) program. "She was able to apply what she learned in class and made a great contribution to the MSE curriculum, based on her experience. I always looked forward to reading her assignment solutions, project work and comments."

In addition to being a member of the university's Class of 2006, Haack earned her undergraduate degree from CSUF in computer science in 1979. She is among a growing group of professionals seeking to further their education online at Cal State Fullerton.

"Despite the national trends where enrollment in software engineering programs declined by approximately 50 percent between 2001 and 2005, our MSE program has been very successful in attracting students," said Dorota Huizinga, associate dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Of the 91 students who enrolled in the program since its launch two years ago, 40 are June graduates.

She noted that while women constitute 15 percent of the inaugural graduating class, the Class of 2007 is expected to be 27 percent female - "a trend we hope will continue as the program gains momentum," she added.

Haack first learned about the online degree program when a co-worker who served on the program's advisory committee could not attend a meeting, so she went in his place. "I was so impressed that I signed up for the program," said Haack, noting that the online nature of the program "requires self-discipline."

"I've learned from the professors, textbooks, fellow students, research projects and papers. We interacted with our instructors and fellow students through audio lectures and online," she added. "It gave me a new perspective beyond my workplace. I have been able to apply numerous items I have learned directly to my work."

Haack is a senior principal software engineer at Raytheon in Fullerton, where she has worked for 27 years.

Her honor as the "Best Master of Science in Software Engineering Graduate Student" includes a $1,500 cash award from Parasoft Corp. of Monrovia. In addition, three other graduating students received awards of $500 each. They are: Artur Bagumyan of Burbank, Brook Gonsowski of Huntington Beach and Leslie Johnson of Fullerton. The awards were made possible as part of a $30,000 gift from Parasoft, which designated a portion of the funds it donated last year to the College of Engineering and Computer Science be used to honor outstanding students in the first graduating class of the program.

The master of science in software engineering program is the fourth online program offered by Cal State Fullerton.

"The class filled up very quickly. The students came primarily from local companies, such as Raytheon, ThalesRaytheonSystems, Northrop Grumman and Boeing," said Raman Unnikrishnan, dean of the university's College of Engineering and Computer Science. "Many are entrepreneurs, and all of them are experienced professionals looking for additional education in software processes, procedures, quality assessment and process management," he added. "The CSUF program addresses the unmet needs of professionals engaged in the rapidly changing arena of software development, which was heavily influenced by outsourcing, changes in the marketplace, increased complexity and the decrease in the length of time from inception to marketing the project," said Unnikrishnan.

Contacts:
Bin Cong, Computer Science, (714) 278-2031 or bcong@fullerton.edu
Dorota Huizinga, College of Engineering and Computer Science, (714) 278-7161 or dnuizinga@fullerton.edu
Raman Unnikrishnan, College of Engineering and Computer Science, (714) 278-3362 or runnikrishnan@fullerton.edu


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