When John McMillan graduated from Mounds View High School in 2015, he had a lot of options. He was sought after by several track and field programs in Minnesota and was also considering attending The University of Minnesota – Duluth. When McMillan toured at NDSU, though, his mind was made up.
“I fell in love with Fargo and campus,” said McMillan. “I also really liked the Computer Science Program and thought I would get a great education.” While here, McMillan has enjoyed “the amount of opportunities that I have had to be involved in different research groups as well as groups and organizations on campus.”
McMillan was recently recognized as a “student of distinction” by the NDSU Computer Science Department, an honor bestowed on only 15 of the department’s approximately 600 students. He is pursuing a B.S. in Computer Science. In addition to his coursework, McMillan has helped with the development of self-driving vehicles. He also participated in a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory project to develop a new algorithm for 3D printing.
“John is an exceptional student,” noted Computer Science Asst. Professor Jeremy Straub, who has mentored several projects that John has been involved in. “His dedication to the task at hand and ability to figure out challenging problems is readily apparent.”
McMillan recently completed an internship where he got to put some of his vehicle software development skills to the test. He considers this internship – as well as the projects he’s worked on at NDSU – to be a demonstration of his skills as a programmer. Once he graduates, McMillan plans to work in industry for a few years and then return to NDSU to pursue a masters with a focus in data analysis.
“The fact that so much of our personal identity and information is online is fascinating, and so data analysis is very interesting to me,” noted McMillan. “Cybersecurity is also interesting because more and more systems are becoming tech based and interconnected.” McMillan has had the opportunity to study both at NDSU.
The NDSU Computer Science Department was founded in 1988 (though computer science courses were offered as part of Mathematical Sciences since 1973). It offers Ph.D. degrees in computer science and software engineering, three master’s degrees and two bachelor’s degree programs. It occupies 7,460 square feet in NDSU’s Quentin Burdick Building and has approximately 600 graduate and undergraduate student majors.