Ackerley Scholars Guest Lecture Program

The Ackerley Computer Science and Technology Scholars Program benefits computer science and information technology students at Graceland by sponsoring events for all computing students such as bringing in guest lecturers. These are usually hosted by the student chapter of the ACM. Past lecture events are listed below in reverse chronological order.

ACM/Ackerley Program Guest Lecturer
Brian Anders
Front End Web Developer at
Nest Labs
Title: Working at Nest
Place: 103 Resch, Mon, April 28, 2014, 8 p.m.
Brian Anders is a former Ackerley Scholar and 2013 alumni with a triple major in Computer Science, Information Technology, and Mathematics and a minor in Web Design. He began working at Nest Labs as an intern which lead to being hired. He works on widgets and web projects for Nest. This year Google acquired Nest Labs for $3.2 billion. Brian talked about the culture at Nest Labs and the excitement that surrounded the aquisition. Brian recommended that every student in computing open a GitHub account and use it for all school and personal projects. That would be transformative by making students more open, more collaborative, and more aware of versioning. It would also become an archive or portfolio that future employers could check out. Brian said "your education is what get's you the interview, but it is your knowledge that get's you the job". Brian's advice to students was to have passion about programming and to be working on personal projects, because that is where your learning takes off. He also advised that in your new job you should "project success" and determine to have a positive outlook. Don't be the complainer or the team member who is the downer. Afterwards Brian gave a "tour" of the underlying code on his web site and his GitHub account.

ACM Distinguished Speaker Program
Dr. Don Costello
Senior Lecturer and NCIT Scholar from the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Title: Cryptography: from Enigma to Elliptical Curve Cryptography
Place: 106 Resch, Mon, April 8, 2013, 8 p.m.
Don Costello is a member of the British Computing Society who has lectured all over the world and been a consultant with over 100 firms internationally. He enlightened us on encryption methods used during both World Wars and on major advancements since then which we all count on in our network activity. He pointed out that the recent cyber-attacks against banks, utilities, businesses, military, and government make this field of study an important and lucrative one. Don pointed to the young people in the audience and said you will our best hope to secure the freedoms and livelihood for all of us. We had 80 in attendance, many from Lamoni and surrounding communities.

ACM Distinguished Speaker Program
Dr. Chris Wyman
Computer Graphics Professor from the
University of Iowa
Title: Computer Graphics Today
Place: 104 Resch, Mon, November 14, 2011, 8 p.m.
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Chris Wyman has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Utah and taught at the University of Iowa. His research interests lie broadly in computer graphics, focusing on interactive realistic image synthesis and lighting effects such as global illumination, participating media, and specular surfaces. His students have gone on to do computer graphics in film, gaming, avionics and defense. Professor Wyman talked about how computer graphics has changed many industries and he layed out the current challenges and on-going research on creating realistic images quickly, and how that can be applied for games, entertainment, and more.

ACM/Ackerley Program Guest Lecturer
Bob Billings
Garmin International
Title: Products, Projects, and Careers at Garmin
Place: 146 Science, Tues, Oct 10, 2007, 8 p.m.
Bob Billings graduated from Graceland in 1986 with majors in Computer Engineering, Computer Science with minors in Physics and Mathematics. After graduation, he worked for King Radio designing integrated flight management systems for business jets and light commercial jets and was involved in development of LORAN and GPS receivers. He joined Garmin International's Avaiation department in 1995 doing embedded systems programming and design on aviation devices such as panel mounted GPS receivers and integrated GPS, communication and NAV receivers. In addition to these stand alone units, Bob was involved in designing and developing the G1000 Integrated Avionics System ( He was involved in the development of the interface adapter unit, engine and airframe unit, weather radar system, transponder, audio panel, controllers and auto pilot system. Bob spoke about various Garmin products and the efforts involved in their engineering and development. Bob encouraged students to get internship experience and any outside project work. He was impressed with students' robotics projects because of problems solving challenges and embedded systems programming that students would have to experience.

ACM/Ackerley Program Guest Lecturer
Terry Chown
MITRE Corporation
Title: Intelligence Work at MITRE
Place: 146 Science, Thurs, Sept 21, 2006, 8 p.m.
Terry Chown graduated from Graceland in 1987 with majors in Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics, Electrical Engineering (via Liberal Studies), and a minor in Physics. Terry served in U.S. Army intelligence before joining MITRE Corporation as a civilian. He is currently assigned to the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as an Associate Department Head. He has had major involvement in testing our missile and space warning networks, orchestrating an annual test of the U.S. Missile, Atmospheric, and Space Warning networks and implementing military exercises that simulated large nuclear strikes against North America. Terry and his staff work on various security projects that involve a number of intelligence agencies. He spoke about intelligence careers in general and the professional climate at MITRE Corporation. He pointed out that security and intelligence work is in a growth phase since 9/11, and he spoke highly of the sense of purpose and mission which such careers provide. Terry reflected on his years at Graceland and its impact on his life. He shared one piece of advice, Don't delay graduation by adding too many majors like I did. You will gain more by finishing up and doing additional study later on a master's degree... plus your employer may help pay for it!

ACM/Ackerley Program Guest Lecturer
David Linkletter
Special Agent with State Fire Marshal,
Bureau of Arson and Explosives
Iowa Department of Public Safety
Title: Robots in Law Enforcement
Place: 146 Science, Tues, March 14, 2006, 8 p.m.
David Linkletter is a Graceland alumni (Sociology/Human Resources, 1994) who joined the Iowa Department of Public Safety after graduation. As a special agent with the Bureau of Arson and Explosives in Iowa he has been trained and works with the Robotec Andros F6A. David spoke generally on the roll that robotics plays in law enforcement and shared some interesting stories. The highlight was the demonstration of the Andros F6A as he sent it up several stairs in the lecture hall and out the door to seek unsuspecting students working in the CS Lab. He answered questions that were of interest to the many students involved in robotic projects at Graceland about the design and controls of the robot. David was an interesting speaker with a great sense of humor. He joked about his limited science-based classwork at Graceland and the nature of his work now (gotta bomb situation... this calls for a sociologist). Clearly, David enjoys what he is doing, work that is both critically important and often dangerous. In a step climbing demonstration, David stopped the robot after several steps to avoid damage saying I could take it to the top but your steps would be trashed... something I would not care about in a real situation.

ACM/Ackerley Program Guest Lecturer
Tony Crandell
Principal Associate
Access Integration Specialists, Co.
Lamoni, IA
Title: The Iowa Communications Network (ICN) and State-Wide Communications
Place: 146 Science, Tues, Nov 29, 2005, 8 p.m.
Tony Crandell was the first employee and senior designer for the Iowa Communication Network (ICN), a statewide fiber optics network. He continues to be a consultant to the State of Iowa on WiMAX, radio interoperability, and homeland security issues. Iowa was the first state to create such a network, connecting all of its 99 counties to facilitate communication and resource sharing in government, health care, education, and other non-commercial services. Its supreme offering is its provision for high quality full motion, two-way interactive video. The ICN has been studied by other states and countries as a model for similar projects. Tony said that Iowa was a leader in this area because of it commitment to education and the relatively low cost to lay new fiber cable here. On this latter point, he said with some hyperbole: you can pull a plow from one end of Iowa to the other without hitting a large obstacle. His talk included a history of the ICN and Iowa State Communications, specific political and managerial challenges that were faced, what we have learned, interesting stories in how it is being used, and predictions for the future. He closed with a demonstration of a web-based prototype that interconnects separate emergency radio networks in the state. Tony is a Graceland alumni (1969) and long-time Ham Radio operator.

ACM/Ackerley Program Guest Lecturer
Bill MacNaughton
Project Consultant
Perficient, Inc.
Houston, TX
Title: Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) using TIBCO
Place: CSLab & 103 Science, January 3-20, 2005, 9am-3pm daily
Bill MacNaughton was guest instructor for Winter Term 2005, offering the same TIBCO Boot Camp taught to IT professionals. Students were trained to use the TIBCO toolset (including Rendezvous, BusinessWorks, Hawk Administrator, Portal Builder) to implement EAI solutions based on a publish/subscribe messaging model. Bill has over 20 years of IT experience and is a senior consultant and chief trainer at Zettaworks ( a company founded by Bob and Lee Ackerley (Smith & Assoc). Days prior to class Zettaworks was acquired by Perficient, Inc. ( In addition to the hands-on training, Bill shared his experiences with Enterprise-level projects, politics, successes, and mistakes. He advised students to learn how business enterprises work and become comfortable communicating in that realm. He told us not to be flustered by high-level development environments that make it difficult to operate at the level of detail programmers are accustomed to. It is the wave of the future, especially for EAI.

ACM/Ackerley Program Guest Lecturer
Terry Patterson
ProCurve Networking Business
Hewlett-Packard Company
Overland Park, KS
Title: Networking Industry - Products, Issues, and Predictions
Place: 146 Science, Tues, Oct 26, 2004, 8 p.m.
Terry Patterson was a 1986 Graceland graduate who majored in Computer Information Systems (a forerunner of the IT major). He works for Hewlett-Packard in the Kansas City area (, currently offering HP's ProCurve Networking solutions to clients. Terry discussed the networking industry in general terms including trends, futures, security, and hot topics in the market. He answered questions and discussed what companies, like HP, look for when hiring people. Terry gave career advice for surviving and thriving in a volatile industry during uncertain times. His advice was to be a visionary and to stay alert to what is going on at the highest levels of an organization, being ready to move to where the opportunities are, adding "it's hard to hit a moving target."

Distinguished Ackerley Scholars Program Lecturer
Homecoming'04 - 30th Anniversary of Computer Science
Larry Fairchild
Deputy Director, Enterprise Operations Directorate
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Title: Computer Technology for Global Intelligence
Place: 218 Zimmermann, Fri, Oct 1, 2004, 11 a.m.
Larry Fairchild was the first computer science graduate from Graceland, receiving a double major in Computer Science and Mathematics in 1974. Since then he has worked in federal service with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), beginning as a scientific programmer and systems analyst, moving to an analytical role when offices emerged to address global issues, and taking on several senior-level posts including Senior Advisor for Science and Technology, Director of Advanced Analytical Tools, and Director of Advanced Information Technology. He is currently on loan to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) as the Deputy Director of the Enterprise Operations Directorate. Larry spoke of the important work being done in Intelligence and of business partnership opportunities through In-Q-Tel. He also spoke about job opportunities, his career, and the secrets of his success.

ACM/Ackerley Program Guest Lecturer
Ryan Carver
Media and Web Designer
LookAndFeel New Media
Kansas City, MO
Title: Flash Programming for Game Design
Place: Helene Center MacLab, Tues, Apr 27, 2004, 7 p.m.
Ryan graduated from Graceland in 2000 with a BA in Commercial Design Art and a minor in Computer Science. He works for LookAndFeel New Media [now Barkley Interactive at] creating websites that capture attention for clients. His snowflake website, featured on countless sites and the city newspaper, reached 90,000 hits per day with many millions of visitors who have created flakes. His Duncan Man game was a promotional piece for Duncan Yo-Yo Company's 75th anniversary. Ryan's presentation covered the technical and artistic aspects of both websites, noting that he had to learn some linear algebra for the snowflake design. Ryan said that Data Structures was an important course in his background and he advised any serious game or Flash developer to take all the programming courses possible in school.

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