Computer Information Systems Student Uses Programming to Solve Environmental Challenges

STANTON - As part of a grant to ensure that our state’s workforce is prepared for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) jobs, Delaware Tech as well as the University of Delaware, Delaware State University and Wesley College are working together to meet Delaware’s 21st century water and energy challenges. One of the ways they are accomplishing this is by providing research opportunities related to these topics. Each project involves social science and ethics questions; therefore, a necessary component of the research is gaming experiments requiring computer programming.

That’s where Delaware Tech Computer Information Systems student Michael Griner comes in. Michael was recommended for an internship with the University of Delaware (UD) to work with a team of researchers at UD’s Laboratory for Experimental & Applied Economics. For 15 weeks, Michael will work with a team of researchers to assist them with various programming tasks. Michael will also work closely with Doctoral student Jacob Fooks to examine how incentive mechanisms are designed to create coastal protection systems through voluntary action of coastal landowners.

Michael will work about 10 hours each week doing tasks such as customizing the graphical user interface, writing the logic for the programs, exporting/importing and managing data, testing, and optimization. “In the computer science world, especially with software, you never really know what is going to happen,” says Michael, “but my role in this is to help in any way that I can so my duties may evolve over the course of the project.”

Michael is a second-year student at Delaware Tech and says this opportunity gives him the chance to practice what he’s learning in a hands-on, real-world scenario. Along with the internship, Michael also enjoys helping his fellow students with their work. He plans to tutor Delaware Tech students this spring, and his research experience will give him a broader perspective to share with fellow students.

After he graduates in May 2014, Michael will pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and math at the University of Delaware. In the future, Michael hopes to start his own software company, and possibly teach. He’s off to a great start – in addition to the recognition of being recommended for this internship opportunity, Michael has been nominated for a Who’s Who in Community College Award. The college is looking forward to seeing how he meets the challenges ahead.