Game On: Computer Science Senior Looks Toward the Future
Kendall Weistroffer to continue master’s education at DU
As a high school senior in Highlands Ranch, Kendall Weistroffer had a love for video games. So it was only natural that when she came to the University of Denver, she’d major in something that reflected that interest.
Now, as a college senior about to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science, Weistroffer is looking toward the future and continuing her master’s studies in the same field.
“I think it’s clear that DU is working to grow its engineering and computer science program. It’s been really cool to see the new computer science classes that I’ve been able to take, as well as know that I can do well in them as a result of all of the education I’ve had up to this point. I’ve definitely grown with the program,” Weistroffer says.
She admits, however, that it wasn’t easy in the beginning. As a freshman, Weistroffer questioned whether computer science was the right major and started looking into other options. Fortunately, she says, two computer science professors — Catherine Durso and Susanne Sherba — made a big impact on her education, giving Weistroffer the motivation and help she needed to stick with the program.
“I was kind of on the edge of if I wanted to continue with the program or not. I had two incredible teachers that really helped me, worked with me and made me feel like I could succeed,” she says. “I was like, ‘I’ll give it another quarter and see how it works out,’ and I really flourished in their classes. I am very happy with my choice.”
Weistroffer says that Durso and Sherba made it easier by breaking down the course material and working with her outside of class, which made her feel welcomed and encouraged to stay in the program.
Fast forward three years and Weistroffer has flourished. She recently collaborated on an independent study with Associate Professor Chris GauthierDickey from the Department of Computer Science and Associate Professor Sari Havis from the Center for Judaic Studies. The trio worked on a video game designed to help DU students studying Hebrew improve their language skills. Weistroffer, who speaks some Hebrew, came up with the concept of the game — called Complete — and built it from the ground up.
As for her future, Weistroffer plans to stay at DU for at least another year to complete her master’s. She’s currently taking master’s courses as part of a 4+1 program. After that, she’s hoping her DU education will land her a job that makes her happy.
“I hope that it will take me to a job I enjoy doing. Something I’m really looking for in a job is a place where I can continue to learn even after graduation,” she says. “I’m really interested in software engineering, and from my experience in this area you definitely have to keep up with all the new technologies and the changes that are being made to the computer science realm.”
For incoming DU freshman looking for some advice, Weistroffer says it’s pretty simple: Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
“I know I definitely grew when I started asking for help. At first, I was really intimidated by everyone around me. Everyone seemed to know what they were doing and what they wanted,” she says. “Just asking for help and getting that guidance really helped solidify my choice and major. [The professors] are there to help. They don’t want you to do poorly — they want you to succeed.”