Remember Virginia TechDr. Peter J. DePasquale

Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science, TCNJ


Details coming soon...

I strive to provide interesting experiences for my mentored research projects. As an faculty member who is actively working on research projects, the mentored research opportunities I provide usually tie in directly with the research work I am currently pursuing. This means that you have the opportunity to be part of a larger project. This also means that I expect a lot out of you.

Typically, I meet once week with my mentored research students and assess their progress. Since this is the equivalent of a three credit course for you, I expect you to be able to work independently, without my direct intervention or help (unless you need it). I look for students who are self-starters, who are responsible, and have excellent track records within this department (this means good reports from other faculty and good grades).

If you are interested in working with me, I generally like to talk to you during the registration process the semester before the mentored research experience occurs. Mentored research opportunities tend to go fast, and we are limited in the number we can offer each semester. Thus, if you wish to consider working for me, you need to talk to me prior to registration during the semester prior to the research experience is to take place. If you wait until after the registration period has ended, you will likely find that all of my offerings are filled and you will be looking elsewhere for your mentored research course. Additionally, this indicates to me that you may lack preparation and planning skills.

The potential mentored research opportunities I have available for next semester include the list below. Please note that I may have anywhere from zero to 3 spots available depending on what my teaching load shakes out to be.

Current Offerings

Note: I am only able to take a fixed number of students as mentored research students each semester based upon my teaching load and other obligations. If you are interested in working with me, please come speak to me in person.

Continued Development of COMTOR (1 or 2 students) - a Java-based Java Source Code Comment Tutoring and Analysis System - During the Fall 2006 semester, the COMTOR project was started and a code base developed. I am looking for additional work to be performed that moves the project forward. This will include additional development of analysis doclets (based on the Javadoc doclet API) as well as support of deployment to the web. We are constantly looking to refine and extend the web analysis platform. This project is being developed in conjunction with a post-doctoral researcher and former TCNJ CS alum - Michael Locasto.

Mentored research will include regular weekly meetings, directed readings and discussions, as well as development and implementation of various related software components. Solid programming background is required, while familiarity with PHP and Java are a plus. For more information on working with me, please contact me directly.

Generally speaking, I am willing to write letters of recommendation for my students for any of a number of situations. Most often, students are interested in such letters for summer jobs, full-time positions, or graduate school. In all cases, the student (you?) should have been enrolled in at least one of my course sections (to completion) for me to consider writing a letter. There are exceptions to this rule in exceptional situations, however, I find that I should be at least able to speak intelligently regarding your academic capabilities, performance, potential, and work ethic.

Yes, work ethic. It should be noted that for students I feel have a poor work ethic or for some other reason I can't write you a supporting letter, I will likely indicate that you "would best be served finding someone else write the letter". Letters of recommendation are not a right, they are a favor by me to help you. This means I put my reputation on the line, and vouch for you. If I tell you to find someone else, please don't embarrass yourself by querying me as to why I feel this way. Just know that I don't feel that I can write a sufficiently strong letter for you for the situation.

What to Provide

If I do agree to write a letter on your behalf, please provide me the following in a folder (so that I can keep track of it all):

  • a note to me indicating what you are applying for, to whom (their name/title) it should be sent, when it needs to be received, and anything else important I need to know regarding the position or application,
  • a note to me summarizing the classes you had with me, and the grades you received,
  • an up-to-date vita (for graduate school applications) or resume (for jobs), and
  • if I am to mail the letter, please provide a note of the address to whom it should be sent. I will provide the postage and departmental envelope.

Final Thoughts

You should consider what additional contributions you have made to the department as a whole. Do you participate in the ACM chapter? Are you an officer? Do you assist at open house events? Are you in UPE? Have you ever given a F.A.C.T.S. seminar? If the answer to most of these are no, then I strongly encourage you to participate in them. Sure, there are other organizations outside the department, however, we still need your help here. You are much more likely to get a favorable response from me if you are active in the department. Additionally, if you are headed to grad school, you really need to show that you are interested and active in computer science beyond the classroom.

Additionally, you may want to read this article I recently found. Sure, it's directed at Ph.D. candidates, but generally speaking anyone can take something away from that article. ("You need to know your recommenders well enough over time so that they can say substantial things about you, backed up by firsthand experience and a reasonable amount of detail.")

I request that you speak to me first to seek my willingness to write you a letter. Please don't assume I will do so, and drop off the above items. I prefer that I agree to writing it first, and then we coordinate regarding the materials. Additionally, I ask that you allow at least two weeks for me to write the letter, edit it, re-write it and mail it. I don't like rushing the letters at all, and they should be finely crafted. If you force me to rush it, you may be turned down. Remember, "failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part". Plan ahead!

I am also willing to have my name, email address, and office phone number released to potential employers if they wish to contact me regarding your application. However, before you do, please seek my permission to ensure that I will be around to respond to them. I loathe being surprised by potential employers regarding questions of my students. If you are home on break, please call my office or email me for permissions to release such information. It's a common courtesy.