Carroll College, Helena Montana

Alumni Successes

Alumni Successes

The Carroll College Computer Science program has a long and rich tradition of excellence and has produced many outstanding computer science alumni. Each has used his or her unique talents to enhance their profession and communities. Here are just a few profiles of our graduates... what are they doing now?

  • Romi Damaso
  • David Fishback
  • Kylan Johnson
  • Rogie King
  • Stan McLenna
  • Ryan Orth
  • Pablo Vanwoerkom
  • Shannon O'Brien

Romi Damaso

via Disneyland

Romi DamasoDegree: B.A. Computer Science, A.A. Visual Arts, 1998

Current Work: Scholarship Office Administrative Assistant, Long Beach City College (LBCC), Long Beach, CA

Brief description of responsibilities:

  • Maintaining the LBCC Scholarship, Outreach, and Alumni websites
  • Awarding scholarships; verifying student meets donor's criteria
  • Created and maintain databases for scholarship recipients, donors, and alumni
  • Coordinating the annual Scholarship and Outstanding Student Receptions
  • Designing various program booklets for the receptions
  • Verifying Long Beach College Promise data is loaded and posted correctly for LBCC
  • Managing the 3rd party scholarship database

Briefly describe one of your more interesting projects or assignments to date:
While working at Disneyland, I created and maintained the Cast Member (CM) Safety Issue Call Log database. I was able to create a database to log in calls from the CMs and assign them to a specific Safety Manager. I split the database (user and backend) so the Safety Managers could track their assigned tasks with notes and close them when they were completed. It was a temporary system for the Safety Department until the Company went to a globalized system for all parks a few years later. Along with that CM Safety Issue Call Log, I helped code, categorize, design and bind the manual along with creating the accompanying posters/handouts for B.A.S.I.L. (Bringing Accident Solutions Into Light) which was used in conjunction with the call log. B.A.S.I.L. is a safety pin-pointing program used to help identify the faults and hazards of a work environment and to provide a solution for a safe work environment while maximizing work efficiency. B.A.S.I.L. is still used as the safety pin-pointing method.

Briefly describe a notable memory from your days at Carroll:
In the classroom, my most notable memory at Carroll is learning how to play Set and then programming the game in Quick C (group project). I found out the following year C allowed the programmer to use resources within Windows. At first, I thought it was "cheating" (and I say that with a smile because if you have the resources, might as well use them). But, I found it challenging to design the Set deck from scratch and determining how we would design each attribute along with developing the algorithm. When we got the program up and running, it was the most amazing feeling. Well, getting programs to run correctly was one thing but incorporating graphics was a highlight.

Outside the classroom, I remember my roommate and friends trying to prepare me for the Montana winters. I'm thankful the housing folks gave me a Montana native for a roommate.

A piece of advice for prospective Carroll Computer Science students:
My advice to prospective Comp Sci students is to not be afraid to explore something out in left field; you may find that you've always been there but haven't realized it yet. Looking at my major and minor at the time I graduated seemed like an odd pairing but it helped others see that I was able to balance productivity and creativity. Having a background with Computer Sci and Visual Arts helped me in many aspects not just in the workplace but also when it comes to volunteer or personal work.

David Fishback

Intel newbie

David FishbackDegree: Computer Science - 2011

Current Work: Validation Engineer at Intel in Oregon

Brief description of responsibilities: Take a technology and create a platform wide validation plan and test cases to be executed by another part of the team located in India.

Briefly describe one of your more interesting projects or assignments to date: I have only been working there a few months, and so far the most interesting assignment has been to be in a planning meeting that was planning out what we would deliver for the next year and a half!

Briefly describe a notable memory from your days at Carroll: The most notable semi-academic memory I have is when I hid behind the whiteboards in our CS 110 class and kept making the projector screen go back up when Phil wasn't looking. My most notable memory from real academic work was for my final networking project in Networking II my partner and I successfully created the necessary network setup, including over 10 devices, in half the given time

A piece of advice for prospective Carroll Computer Science students: Do not be scared to come to class the first day and have no clue what they are talking about! Be eager to learn more about computers, and the rest will come with some good hard work and plenty of fun!

Kylan Johnson

International Math Contest Winner

Kylan JohnsonDegree: Civil Engineering - 2008

Current Work: Senior Software Engineer

Brief description of responsibilities:
As a Senior Software Engineer, I lead the design and development of a couple of software applications for internal research and development. The application domain consists of Android applications, custom software defined radios and web services (such as HTTP, AJAX, JQuery). I am also responsible for briefing prospective customers as well as internal directors.

Briefly describe one of your more interesting projects or assignments to date:
My most interesting project is one where it was literally just me... I was the lead designer, developer, presenter, and program manager. It was a tiny program where they wanted a rapidly developed prototype. It was a quick turn around and I got to travel to the site to install it.

Briefly describe a notable memory from your days at Carroll:
I tell everyone how helpful Steve Harper's "circle sessions" were. You'd set us around code and we'd just have to make educated guesses as to what it does. It truly has helped me tons. I also will never forget Phil Rose using all the characters from LoTR as variables.. classic.

A piece of advice for prospective Carroll Computer Science students:
Never be afraid to learn (or for that matter say you don't know something). People will appreciate sincerity and hard work and, when you focus on both, you end up being a great engineer. Also, focus on problem solving. Engineers are paid (or should be) for creating simple solutions to hard problems. Never be settled with complacency or anything short of awesome! (Lastly... math will help you out... don't fall asleep in class!)

Rogie King

Hyper social blogging illustrator and designer

Rogie KingDegree: Math and Computer Science, Double Major, with Honors 2003

Current Work:

  • Just wrapping up a year long visual and interaction redesign
  • A website and web application I art directed, illustrated and designed
  • Fantastical: A Mac OS X menu bar application interface design
  • Illustration Work: At the beginning of this year, in an epiphany at Disneyland, I reignited the desire that I had to illustrate when I was 12. This is my progress in that direction.
  • Fine Goods: Part of going solo is the responsibility to setup a sort of future proof investment. Fine Goods is a store where I will be selling designed t-shirts, icon sets and illustrations, all done by me. Should be a very cool outlet of creativity.

Brief description of responsibilities:
Nothing! Ha! Well, I'm self-employed now, so I do whatever I want and I love it. I accept the jobs I want; I take on the clients I want. I use my free time to write articles and be a voice in the web community, in which I'm very involved. I love it.

I tend to focus more on visual design, front end coding (such as HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript) and Illustration. I've since dropped taking on jobs that focus on server side programming to develop my skills in the former.

Briefly describe one of your more interesting projects or assignments to date: was a very cool project. It had such a fun, quirky bold style. I loved being able to do illustration work for it as well. The project had such a unique spirit about it and it was for a good cause. Bellstrike is a web application meant to help small non-profits easily create websites to help serve, bring news about their cause and provide a gateway to accept donations. It's a very cool service that fills a big need for smaller non-profits that may not otherwise have a nice website. is also a very swanky redesign. Not only did I help redesign their site, but we totally re-architected and redesigned the entire application. Mad Mimi is a stupid simple web application meant to help your grandma be able to send email promotions for her business. Mad Mimi really aims to target the non-tech savvy user, and does a great job at that. I've learned so much through working with them � they are incredible people and have a customer service standard unlike one I've ever seen.

Fantastical also was a very cool project. OS X application design for a company that wanted a Mac app with character, and they got it. They were a blast to work with and it was my first foray into the desktop app design world. Can't wait to design another app with them.

Briefly describe a notable memory from your days at Carroll:
Strange, that it didn't stand out to me too much at the time, but does to me now. There was a time at Carroll where my life was a bit out of control. I was drinking heavily and into the party scene...and it was ruining who I was made to be. Marie Vanisko said something to me one day. I'm not sure how accurate this is, but one day, she said: "You used to have so much life, a spark to you, a fire. I don't see that anymore, Rogie" � those words haunted me because I didn't quite know what she meant. Now I know. All of the drinking and partying had started to take my spirit from me, my fire, my spark. I truly believe that I have brought my life back into balance and regained that spark back. That youthful spirit. I love that my teachers at Carroll weren't just teachers, they were mentors. Thanks, Marie.

A piece of advice for prospective Carroll Computer Science students:
A couple of things really. It's so important to understand why the Carroll Faculty and Staff are there. They are there for you. Ask lots of questions, tell them about your dreams, about what you want to do. Even if that means placing you in another school, it's so important to really lean on all of their years of wisdom. I wish I would have done that more. The community of faculty and staff at Carroll is really quite a special culture filled with loving people that just want to help you.

Hard Work. In this generation, it seems to be more of a rarity. Remember that most people that are successful or skilled in what they do is a result of consistent hard work and sacrificing play to become better in a skill or profession. Work hard, and love the journey, not just the destination.

Stan McLenna

Our Newest with Intel

Stan McLennaDegree: Computer Science 2009

Current Work:
Earning my Computer Science degree was not the first thing I thought of when I stepped on to the Carroll campus. I had never seen a line of code before and was a total amateur about computers. Over the course of three years (I declared late) I earned my BA in Computer Science in May of 2010. Since then I worked for two major companies: Supervalu and Intel. Although I was a temporary employee, Carroll taught me to take initiative, set my own goals, and follow those timelines. I achieved goals and completed projects outside my job description.

Five months later, I started as a full time employee at Intel Corp as an Application Developer. I write data transformation applications moving data from transactional database systems into a fully normalized database system for reports and business intelligence. The most interesting project I participated in was our pilot program for a near-real-time solution for database applications. Instead of applications running every eight hours refreshing data, they can now run continuously, thereby reducing the wait time for potentially crucial data critical to the company.

Briefly describe a notable memory from your days at Carroll:
There are too many memories to recount (late nights in the lab, jokes in class, etc.) but the memory that I remember vividly was during Cryptography. Phil Rose was introducing us to irreversible functions and said, "Give me an example of a situation that cannot be reversed." My example came from a lack of caffeine during an 8 o'clock class, therefore I mentioned, "You could pee." I've never seen Phil laugh so hard before, but I guess you have to be there to truly appreciate it.

A piece of advice for prospective Carroll Computer Science students:
A word of advice: if you are considering a CS path, don't be intimidated by the subject. I never took any computer science courses before Carroll and the classes intimidated me; it was a completely foreign field. I communicated with my professors continuously, and they helped me understand the concepts and work through any problems I had. It will be difficult and you will want to quit at times, but it's worth the time and effort.

Ryan Orth

HP newbie

Ryan OrthDegree: Computer Science and Computer Information Systems 2011

Current Work:
Software Engineer at Hewlett Packard in Houston, TX

Description of Responsibilities:
Design and implement software for HP's Enterprise Servers, Storage, and Networking Group.

Notable Memory from Carroll:
Many specific memories come to mind. Some of these are academically related but the majority of them revolve around the lasting relationships that were built with my peers and professors outside the classroom. The tight knit community of Carroll helped to foster these memorable experiences.

Piece of Advice for prospective Carroll Computer Science students:
Work hard and don't be afraid to approach any of the computer science professors outside of the classroom. They are always willing to help and without their help I would not be where I am today!

Pablo Vanwoerkom

Art, Music and Computers

Pablo VanwoerkomDegree: Computer Science and Mathematics (minor in Music) 2005

Current Work:
I live in Denver, Colorado and work as a contractor for HAIKU Learning Systems, Inc., an online learning company.

Description of Responsibilities:
Skilled and enthusiastic programmer knowledgeable in a broad range of programming languages, including C , Java, Python, PHP, Javascript, and XSLT. Other technology includes Linux OS(Debian), OpenGL, Matlab, R (statistics environment and programming language), Tcl/Tk, MySQL. Special interest in audio applications, music, open source software, and computer games.

Find our more about Pablo at his website at

Shannon O'Brien

iPad Apps

Shannon O'Brien Degree:
BA in Mathematics and Computer Science, Carroll College, 2004
Masters in Human-Computer Interaction, Carnegie Mellon, 2005

Current Work:
Senior User Experience Specialist at Thomson Reuters

Brief description of responsibilities:
I work in the New Product Development department at Thomson Reuters. I am responsible for making sure our products are easy and enjoyable to use. To do this, I observe our customers using our products and report to the designers and developers on what worked and what didn't. I then recommend changes to the product's design.

Briefly describe one of your more interesting projects or assignments to date:
When the iPad first came out, I was assigned the role of business lead for my team's first app. I worked closely with the designers and developers to communicate which features to build and how they should work. It was a very exciting time to work on an iPad app. Design best-practices and usability research methods had not yet been established or well documented. We likened the experience to the Wild West because of the lack of rules and the freedom to take different design approaches.

Briefly describe a notable memory from your days at Carroll:
During my first CS class my freshman year, Professor Rose called on me to answer something about IF statements. I knew from then on I better pay attention. Some of my fondest memories include working with my professors. One of Carroll College's greatest strengths is the professors and their knowledge and passion for what they teach as well as their willingness to help after class.

A piece of advice for prospective Carroll Computer Science students:
A piece of advice for prospective Carroll Computer Science students: A degree in Computer Science opens the doors to a vast number of career opportunities including but not limited to programming. For example, I've combined my CS degree with my interests in design and psychology to build a career that allows me to research how people use technology and how to design intuitive products.