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HAMMOND – Looking to meet a growing area demand for computer science and information technology professionals, Southeastern Louisiana University is launching its Accelerated Computing Engagement (ACE) program that enables qualified students to graduate within three years with a bachelor of science in information technology, university officials announced today (Sept. 26).
The program will require formal internship coursework, ensuring students complete degree requirements with close industry ties and real-world experience, said Sebastian van Delden, head of the Department of Computer Science and Industrial Technology.
"The internship is an essential part of the curriculum," van Delden added. "From our conversations with employers, we know they are looking for personnel who are ready to hit the ground running. The ACE program provides students with the kind of hands-on, practical experience that makes them ready for the workforce."
Currently, 12 area information technology, software development and other computer-related firms have signed on with the university to serve as internship sites for students in the ACE program.
"Southeastern's ACE program is a perfect marriage between an aggressive curriculum and the IT (information technology) overachiever," said Calvin Fabre, chief executive officer at Envōc, a software development firm located in Baton Rouge and Hammond that already hires Southeastern student workers and plans to participate in the internship program. "Technological immersion is both the plan and the reward of the program, with the outcome being a skilled craftsman ready to change the lives of others."
"With the ACE program, Southeastern is demonstrating proactive leadership by responding to industry needs," said John Burris, assistant professor. "Increasingly, high tech firms are growing in south Louisiana. Our primary focus is to produce graduates who can enter a rewarding career with an undergraduate degree and be productive from day one. The internship experience – along with a well-balanced curriculum and a committed, mentoring faculty body – are all key components to this ideal educational model."
Van Delden said the new accelerated version of this ABET accredited program will enroll its first cohort of students in the fall 2014 semester. The program is intended for high achieving students who will follow a strict schedule of classes each semester. Students admitted must have a minimum ACT composite score of 24 and two letters of recommendation from teachers or others who can verify the work ethic required to participate. They will be eligible to participate in priority scheduling and will be advised by a specially assigned faculty program coordinator.
"The information technology program is intense, with a heavy focus on software engineering and algorithm development and requiring at least 19 programming-intensive computer science courses, or nearly half of the curriculum," added Computer Science Professor Ghassan Alkadi, who is serving as program coordinator. "Students will graduate with strong theoretical content as well as the hands-on skills necessary to succeed in this environment."
Firms that have agreed to provide internship opportunities for students in the ACE program include: 5Stones Media, The JBM Group and the Southeastern Office of Technology in Hammond; Ameritas Technologies, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, Amedysis, and Envoc in Baton Rouge; Allpax of Covington; York Risk Services Group of Mandeville; eMerge of Slidell; GE Capital of New Orleans; Geocent of Metairie; InfiniEDGE of Prairieville; and PrimTek of Denham Springs.
For more information on ACE, call the Southeastern Department of Computer Science and Industrial Technology at 985-549-2189 or email Sebastian van Delden at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ACCELERATED PROGRAM TO BE LAUNCHED – Sebastian van Delden, right, head of the Southeastern Louisiana University Department of Computer Science and Industrial Technology, reviews a problem with computer science major Ranjan Poudel. Southeastern announced the launch of its Accelerated Computing Engagement program, which enables qualified students to graduate within three years. ACE, which emphasizes formal internships with area companies, is designed to help fill workforce needs in the information technology field.