By Andrea Fencl
WAUKESHA — A computer science student at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha is making stellar advancements in the technology world. Christian Reese, 20, has created a program to assist university professors.
Delafield resident Reese also enjoys developing video games, programming and mentoring on a FIRST Robotics team, computer programming, gaming, enjoying the outdoors and kayaking along with spending time with his friends and family.
Reese began his exploration in videogame programming when his dad introduced him to the programming language C++ when he was about 11 years old.
“My desire to create drove me to learn C++, which is quite a steep learning curve for someone as young as I was,” Reese said. “Even if I didn’t know it at that point, learning computer programming eventually gave me numerous new hobbies, and ultimately led me down the career path I am on today.”
After graduating from Kettle Moraine High School in June 2015, Reese entered the computer science
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One of Christian Reese’s many hobbies is kayaking.
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program at UW-Waukesha, where he plans to achieve his Bachelor of Science degree.
“My general career goal is to be at the forefront of the advances in computer science, whether that be in the video game industry, or in the research and development department of a theater lighting company,” Reese said. “While the video game industry inspired me to start programming years ago, I am open to a wide spectrum of possibilities for my future career.”
In his time at UW-Waukesha, Reese said the project he is most proud of is his Student Grade Reporter, which he will be presenting at the 14th Annual University of Wisconsin System Research in the Rotunda event in Madison on Wednesday.
The Student Grade Reporter, developed by Reese and his mentor, UWMarathon County Associate Professor of Computer Science Mark S. Hall, allows instructors to use excel workbooks to create criteria for individual assignments, and will automatically send out early email alerts to instructors, students and UW-College advisors.
“This program has the potential to save hours of work for instructors that need a convenient way to send grade notification emails to their students,” Reese said.
And although Reese has been working with Hall on the project, the two have yet to actually meet.
Reese has osteogenesis imperfecta Type 3, a collagen disorder that causes brittle bones and loose joints, making travel difficult. Reese met Hall remotely through a distance class in Assembly Language.
“I had been instant messaging with [Hall] on Skype regarding the course,” Reese said. “Eventually he noticed how well I was performing in the class, and offered this project to me. Then we collaborated remotely on it and got it done.”
“I do very much look forward to meeting Professor Hall in person,” Reese said. “This is the first time I have collaborated with someone to such an extent without meeting them in person.”
Although Reese said the main challenges he’s had to overcome were physical, relating to his disability, he refuses to let them stop him from reaching his goals.
“I have had countless surgeries, particularly when I was younger. Someof the bigger surgeries, such as my spinal fusion, were rather difficult to recover from,” Reese said. “I had to learn adaptation skills to get through these recovery processes and get to where I am today. During recovery, video games would often be my main outlet to distract myself from the hardships. Fortunately, video games became the primary influence that sent me down the career path I am on today.”
“Day by day I strive to prove that excellence can be achieved despite disabilities such as this,” Reese said. “I hope that presenting my achievements from this project will be one of many steps in accomplishing this, inspiring those with similar disabilities, and even those without.”
After graduating from UW-Waukesha, Reese plans on applying for a permanent job on the R&D software engineering team at Electronic Theater Controls, where he has worked for nearly two years as student help and where he will be interning during the summer.
“I also plan to keep on mentoring the FIRST Robotics team I’m involved in, Kettle Moraine Laser Robotics,” Reese said.