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Venture capital gift aids OSU-Cascades computer science


Oregon State University-Cascades announced Friday it has received a $62,500 gift from Seven Peaks Ventures, a Bend-based venture capital fund, that will support a faculty scholar in the school’s computer science program.

The gift was announced 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, according to Friday’s announcement.

“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,” Vendetti said. “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,” Johnson said.

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