Goaltender Steven DeVerteuil expects the unexpected on the soccer field. A surprising score. A chance backup.
It was what happened in the classroom that caught him off guard. A course he took for a liberal arts and science requirement at the University of Mary Washington peeled back the layers of a technology — and a world — he took for granted.
“It kept opening my mind and pushing me in ways I never thought I could push,” DeVerteuil, a UMW senior, said of his major, a subject he discovered. by chance. Now the first to pursue a Mary Washington Partner Program in Computing and Applications, he’s well-positioned to earn a master’s degree in less than two years and possibly a career in the big leagues.
“I expect Steven to do very well,” said associate professor of computer science Ian Finlayson, who was chair of the department when the program, part of Virginia’s Tech Talent Pipeline, was created.
The “4+1 Path” combines foundation and dual-credit courses, preparing UMW students for early admission to graduate school. Up to six Mary Washington credits also count toward a degree from Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering.
Applicants submit resumes, references, transcripts, and plenty of essays. DeVerteuil, a native of Long Island, New York, has spent weeks writing about his leadership experiences, academic and professional goals, and community service, including his work with Micah Ecumenical Ministries.
His first foray into digital technology – UMW’s Introduction to Computer Science – had opened the door to algorithms and abstractions, methods and modems, simulations and circuit designs…and a world of opportunities spanning an academic career and beyond.
“If you spend enough time breaking down a problem and coming up with a solution, you can create anything,” he said of a lesson he learned in object-oriented analysis and design, a lesson encouraging collaboration. “When you add teammates to that, the sky is the limit.”
Artificial intelligence pushed boundaries, explored the science of robotics and how computers could think for themselves. “It sounded like something out of a sci-fi movie,” said DeVerteuil, who plays tenor saxophone in the UMW Concert Band and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Chi Alpha Sigma.
His studies also made their way into football. He defines datasets, writes code, and creates queries for an Honors Capstone project designed to uncover a better understanding of goalie passing trends.
“For 21 years, I looked at a computer without really understanding what it was,” said DeVerteuil, who hopes to combine his passions, possibly working in the major leagues after earning a master’s degree. “Now I can relate to this thing that is so integral to everyone’s life.”