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Oregon State University - Cascades has received a gift from Seven Peaks Ventures, a Bend-based venture capital fund. The gift will support a faculty scholar in the university’s computer science program.
The $62,500 gift was announced today in front of an audience of more than 400 investors and entrepreneurs at the Bend Venture Conference. Dino Vendetti, managing director of Seven Peaks Ventures and OSU-Cascades Vice President Becky Johnson shared the stage during the announcement.
The gift will establish the Seven Peaks Ventures Faculty Scholar in Computer Science. The position will be held by Yong Bakos, a computer science instructor and the leader of the undergraduate degree program at OSU-Cascades.
“Seven Peaks Ventures is thrilled to support and advance the innovation underway in the computer science program at OSU-Cascades and deepen the program’s connectivity to local industry,” said Vendetti. “I hope this gift motivates others to support Yong and his students at OSU-Cascades, so that we can create an even stronger pipeline of talented computer scientists for our industry.”
The computer science degree at OSU-Cascades launched in 2013 and has experienced 50 percent annual enrollment growth. Currently, 88 undergraduate students major in the subject and more than half are working or interning in their field in Central Oregon.
Graduates of the degree program have secured positions with local technology companies including CBT Nuggets, Enel X, Five Talent, G5 and Tribe Pilot.
Prior to joining OSU-Cascades in 2016, Bakos helped lead the Center of Creative Computation at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Prior to that he was the assistant department head of the electrical engineering and computer science department at the Colorado School of Mines.
Bakos received the 2018 Outreach Award from OSU-Cascades, recognizing his extensive work connecting industry and K-12 age students with the computer programming field.
“This generous gift from Seven Peaks Ventures will support the incredible work underway by faculty like Yong, and propel our innovative computer science program and the region’s economy forward,” said Johnson.
About OSU-Cascades: Oregon State University’s campus in Bend, Ore. features outstanding faculty in degree programs that reflect Central Oregon’s vibrant economy and abundant natural resources. Nearly 20 undergraduate majors, 30 minors and options, and three graduate programs include computer science, energy systems engineering, kinesiology, hospitality management, and tourism, recreation and adventure leadership. OSU-Cascades expanded to a four-year university in 2015; its new campus opened in 2016.