Skip to content
CIS Logo

Alex Clauff

Alex Clauff

Alex graduated with a B.S., May 2012 in Computer/Business Information Systems

Deciding to pursue a CIS/ Business major:

I chose to pursue the CIS/Business major after taking a general computer class my freshman year. I enjoy working with computers (and always have, even in middle school and high school).

While at Edgewood I learned:

The most interesting thing I have learned over my college career is learning programming languages and finding out what you can do with them. For example, I developed Edgewood's School of Nursing website (before the College website remodel), using similar jQuery features Facebook implements.

Overall, the most important thing I have learned is to teach myself. The CIS department is structured in a "there are no boundaries" sort of way. If you want to find a different way around something, and add features to a project, you can.

In the first two years, it can feel like a lot of annoying book work, but it's worth the headaches. By junior year, you apply what you've learned, and create things. We have developed static websites, interactive calendar systems, and web-based databases – everything we create is for someone who will hopefully use it after we depart from the project. Whether it is for a non-profit organization, the school, or oneself, we go through the same process and apply everything that we have learned from our previous classes into the project.

I’m now able to take everything that I've learned and apply it to one project, which is what I'm currently working on. I am using PHP and MySQL as the server side code to connect to a database I have created. HTML, CSS, jQuery and JavaScript are being used as the front-end languages, delivering an elegant look for the end user. The finished product will be a CIS alumni database to track alumni contact information, where they currently work, etc.

Interesting internships:

I really enjoyed my American Family Insurance internship last summer. I developed a part of the Application Development Team's website with a tutorial on how to code with jQuery. It was interesting because there I was, an intern at a Fortune 500 company, writing code to teach upper-level managers and associates which plugins were approved by the company, and how to properly code them into a page. My fellow intern and I had many tasks over the course of the three months, some of which were mundane while others were complex and took a few weeks to complete.

What really got me going in the computer science field was the summer between my sophomore and junior year, dealing with the School of Nursing website. Before that, I didn’t have the slightest clue how to program, other than the basic Java experience I picked up in a UW class. As I constructed the site over the course of the summer, I had to teach myself the appropriate languages. It became live six months later.

The CIS degree at Edgewood:

One advantage of earning this degree at Edgewood is learning how to work with multiple personal relationships. We aren't “code monkeys” by any means. We are at Edgewood to learn how to develop projects (from start to finish, and everything in between). The degree at Edgewood does a phenomenal job at giving you the opportunity to work with many different types of individuals, from working with people you may not know, to those who do not even speak the same language as you. One of our recent graduates had Mandarin as the primary language installed on the computer. Although there was a communication barrier, we made it work.

About a broad liberal arts education:

It has been helpful to learn how to communicate with people, whether they are your boss on a project, your subordinate, or your client. It is important to get an understanding of how to work with people from every angle. And, as a result of a fascinating guitar class I’ve taken from Edgewood’s Music Department, I want to continue learning how to play the guitar.