Riley Conlin

Despite being recruited by multiple schools – including Cornell – Riley Conlin only applied to the North Dakota State University.  He knew NDSU was where he wanted to attend due to its proximity to his hometown of Bismarck, North Dakota, its affordability and the NDSU computer science program’s reputation.

At NDSU, Conlin has excelled.  He, and his teammates, won the local ACM International Collegiate Programming Competition contest and took second place at the DigiKey regional programming competition.  In recognition of his strong work ethic and accomplishments, Conlin has been selected as a “student of distinction” by the NDSU Computer Science Department.  This is an honor bestowed on only 15 of the department’s approximately 600 students.

Conlin has been involved with NDSU’s student Association for Computing Machinery chapter.  “I’m very glad the ACM exists,” he says.  “It has been a big part of my day to day life here and my recent successes.”

He is also proud of his technical accomplishments – even when no one is keeping score.  Conlin says that he considers his greatest accomplishment to-date to be getting two-hundred thousand visual elements displaying at forty frames per second using the JavaScript programming language in the Chrome web browser.

“Students of distinction – like Riley Conlin – are selected for going above and beyond typical students,” commented NDSU Computer Science Assistant Professor Jeremy Straub, who manages the student awards program.  “Distinguished students are recognized by their peers and instructors as student leaders – in a variety of areas – and this award serves to acknowledge their accomplishments.”

Conlin hasn’t figured out exactly what he wants to do when he graduates, but plans to in the next year or so.  He is particularly interested in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

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. 

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