Outstanding Graduates Computer Science
Austin Zuidema '17 has been chosen to receive the Computer Science Senior Award because of a track record of excellent work. For example, in work that he conducted with Professor Knecht, he collected database donations to political campaigns in an effort to tease apart the relationship between money and political outcomes at different regional levels. Perhaps inspired by some of the issues that this work raised, in his senior project he examined a classic theoretical problem called the prisoner's dilemma and formulated a research project in which several people playing this mathematical game would be placed in competition with one another. His question centered on trying to identify social and game mechanic structures in which cooperation could be encouraged despite the tendency for the game to result in breaches of trust.
Dillon Montag '16, the Kim P. Kihlstrom Outstanding Graduate for 2016: In two short years, Dillon Montag has made a significant mark on our CS program. As a transfer double major in Mathematics and Computer Science, he arrived having already completed most of a mathematics major but not having started the CS curriculum. Dillon ripped through his CS classes, not only excelling in each but consistently raising the level of the entire class. He explains problems and solutions both clearly and concisely, and accurately discerns where confusion remains. These qualities will serve him extremely well if in the future he chooses to return to graduate school and academia. But first, Dillon will be serving a government agency with a three-letter name where we are confident he will be a sorely needed source of intellectual light and moral salt.
In addition to excelling in his computer science classes and mastering every programming language he encounters, Daniel Hakimian '15 exemplifies the best qualities of a liberally educated Christian. He has obtained a perspective on learning and life that is complimentary to his computer science training by stretching himself in classes outside his comfort zone, serving his peers as a volunteer in the Westmont gardens, and wrestling with the philosophy of technology and how technologies are both helping and hindering us in God's work. Daniel has been a faithful and engaged participant in the life of the computer science program, regularly attending department dinners and helping his peers with grace.