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Majors & Degrees

Newbury chosen for Rochester Institute research internship

May 16, 2018

Erin Newbury likes computers. She also likes people. This summer, the Dakota State University junior will have an opportunity to investigate the software engineering career that blends those two passions – the field of information systems.

Newbury is one of ten college students from around the country invited to a new Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) project at New York’s Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). REUs are research opportunities funded through the National Science Foundation. This particular REU will provide the undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct research in software engineering.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Erin to learn about different aspects of software engineering with other high-achieving undergraduates from all across the country,” said Dr. Christopher J. Olson, associate professor in the College of Business & Information Systems. He is also coordinator for the information systems program. Newbury is majoring in computer information systems with a specialization in project management.

“This REU includes communication and collaboration within a team as a primary focus of software engineering, which ties in nicely with her project management specialization in the computer information systems program,” said Olson.

Software systems are increasingly important to national interests, in fields of health, energy, and cybersecurity, so the REU project is intended to help prepare a pool of trained software engineers to address the increasing national needs. Because “there is so much more to creating useful software than just writing good code,” Olson continued, “research that includes the human and social aspects of software development is exciting and relevant.”

At RIT, Newbury and the other students will work in small teams on carefully planned research experiences focusing on three main themes which span the entire software development life cycle – developers' productivity, communication and collaboration, design and creativity. Students will also take part in industry field trips, professional seminars, invited speaker series, career guidance, and graduate school preparation.

“I expect Erin to thrive in this setting due to her experience in working with others on her athletic teams and her ability to communicate with others,” Olson stated. “She possesses the personality and soft skills that companies are seeking as they look to hire employees who are technically capable and able to work well in a team setting.”

A native of Otto, Illinois, Newbury is excited to experience the academic offerings of the 10-week program, along with meeting new people and seeing a new part of the country. After graduation, she hopes to find a job with a small company. “I’d like to start somewhere small and grow with the company.”