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About Rollins

Valerie Summet, PhD

Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Valerie Summet

I am an Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Rollins College. I earned my Bachelor's of Science degree from Duke University and my Masters and Ph.D. from Georgia Tech. I have previously taught at Duke University, Georgia Tech, and Emory University.

I teach a broad range of courses in Computer Science including CS I and II, Computer Architecture, Object-Oriented Programming and Design, and special topics such as Computational Photography, Human-Computer Interaction, and Senior Capstone.

My research focuses on analyzing and understanding the use of technology in a broad range of other fields including theater, computer science education, psychology, and assistive technology.


Academic Work Experience

Assistant Professor of Computer Science | Mathematics and Computer Science Department, Rollins College
August 2016 - present

Lecturer | Mathematics and Computer Science Department, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
August 2010 - August 2016

Instructor | College of Computing, Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA
Summers 2008-2010, 2015

Visiting Lecturer | Department of Computer Science, Duke University, Durham, NC
August 2008 - December 2008

Industrial Work Experience

Health Sciences Specialist | Veteran’s Administration Hospital, Decatur, GA
May 2004 - August 2004

Staff Engineer | IBM Corp. Austin, TX
August 1999 - June 2003

Systems Administrator | Mitsubishi Semiconductor, Durham, NC
April 1997 - January 1999

Honors, Grants, and Fellowships

  • Google Cloud Educational Grant, 2017 - 2018
  • Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program National Academy of Engineering, 2010
  • Google - Anita Borg Fellowship Finalist, 2008
  • Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award, College of Computing Georgia Institute of Technology, 2008
  • National Science Foundation East Asia Pacific Summer Institute Fellowship Joint venture between NSF and Australian Academy of Sciences. Funded 6k for summer research with Dr. Jennie Carroll in Australia. (Award #0611519), 2006
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship in Computer Science Prestigious fellowship which funds 30k stipend plus all tuition and fees for 3 years of graduate study, 2004 - 2006
  • Georgia Institute of Technology President’s Fellowship 5k per year of graduate study, 2003 - 2008
  • NSF ’Managing Academic Careers’ Workshop Fellowship - Full funding to attend SIGCSE 2005

Journal Articles

Bonyadi, C. and Summet, V. 2018.  A Pilot Study in Using Virtual Reality During Theatre Rehearsal. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges.  To appear, Dec. 2018.
Shannon, A. and Summet, V. 2015. Live Coding in Introductory Computer Science Courses. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, 31, 2, 158–164.  

Papers at Refereed Conferences

Henderson-Summet, V., R.E. Grinter, R.E.,  Carroll, J., and Starner, T. 2007.  Electronic Communication: Themes from a Case Study of the Deaf Community. In Proceedings of INTERACT’07, volume 4662 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer. 347-360.  DOI:
Brashear, H., Henderson, V. Park, K-H., Hamilton, H., Lee, S., and Starner, T. 2006. American Sign Language Recognition in Game Development for Deaf Children. In Proceedings of the 8th international ACM SIGACCESS conference on Computers and accessibility, ASSETS'06. ACM Press. 79–86. DOI:
Henderson, V.,  Lee, S., Brashear, H., Hamilton, H., Starner, T., and Hamilton, S. 2005. Development of an American Sign Language Game for Deaf Children. In Proceedings of the 2005 Conference on Interaction Design and Children, IDC'05. ACM Press.  70–79. DOI:
Lee, S., Starner, T., Henderson, V., Brashear, H., and Hamilton, H. 2005. User-Centered Development of Gesture-Based American Sign Language Game. In Proceedings of the International Symposium on Instructional Technology and Education of the Deaf. URI:
Ross, D., Lightman, A. and Henderson, V. 2005. Cyber Crumbs: An Indoor Orientation and Wayfinding Infrastructure. In Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America,  RESNA 05.

Short Papers or Posters at Refereed Conferences

Bates, R., Goldsmith, J., Berne, R., Summet, V., and Veilleux, N. 2012.  Science fiction in computer science education. In Proceedings of the 43rd ACM technical symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE '12. ACM Press. 161–162. DOI:
Henderson-Summet, V., Weaver, K.A., Westeyn, T.L., and Starner, T. 2008.  American Sign Language vocabulary: computer-aided instruction for non-signers. In Proceedings of the 10th international ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, ASSETS '08. ACM Press. 281–282. DOI: 
Lee, S., Henderson, V., Hamilton, H., Brashear, H., Starner, T., and Hamilton, S.  2005.  A Gesture-Based American Sign Language Game for Deaf Children. In Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems,  CHI EA ’05.  ACM Press. 1589–1592.  DOI:
Robert M. McGuire, Jose Hernandez-Rebollar, Thad Starner, Valerie Henderson, Helene Brashear, and Danielle S. Ross. Towards a One-Way American Sign Language Translator. In Proceedings of the Sixth IEEE Int'l Conference on Automatic Face and Gesture Recognition pages 620–625. May 2004.  DOI:
Rankin, W.T., Board, Jr., J.A., and Henderson, V. 1999. The Impact of Data Ordering Strategies on a Distributed Hierarchical Multipole Algorithm. In Proceedings of the Ninth SIAM Conference on Parallel Processing for Scientific Computing.

Valerie Summet teaching
  • Creative Computing (first-year seminar)
  • Introduction to Linux and Command-Line Interfaces (1 week, Winter Intersession)
  • Computer Science II and Data Structures (Java-based)
  • Object-Oriented Design and Development
  • Computer Architecture
  • Advanced Systems
  • Computational Photography
  • Senior Capstone
  • Freshman Seminar in Robotics
  • Computing with Business Applications
  • Fundamentals of Computer Science
  • Computer Science I (Java-based)
  • Computer Architecture
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Discrete Mathematics
  • Ethics, Technology, and Society
  • Data Structures
  • Discrete Mathematics
  • Computer Science II and Data Structures (Java-based)

I love meeting, mentoring, and working with students.  I enjoy watching students develop their passion and interests from their first course with us to their final Capstone project.  I get many requests from students.  This page is intended to provide some common information about the most common requests I get.
General Advice and Chatting
Drop by my office any time during my office hours.  My office hours change each semester but can always be found outside my office door.  If you want to discuss something for a long period of time (more than 15 minutes) email me so we can set up a dedicated time.
Letters of Recommendation
I get many requests for letters of recommendation, and I am usually happy to write them.  However, writing strong recommendation letters takes time, and I ask that students provide some information to help me write the strongest letter I can:
  • Book a meeting with me to discuss why you need the letter and the scope of the letter(s) you'll need.  This helps me get an idea of how to tailor your letter.
  • After our meeting, please email me your statement of purpose (usually for applications to academic programs) or a sample cover letter (for job applications) and your resume.  These do not need to be final documents; drafts are OK.  These help fill in gaps and tell me things about you outside of your academic performance.  There is no need to send me your transcript if you are a current student.
  • In your email, please include a list of programs/jobs you are applying to, the date by which the letter needs to be submitted, and how the letter is to be submitted.  This list helps me keep track of what letters I need to complete.
  • Please allow 2 weeks the first time I write a letter for you.  After I've written an initial letter, I can usually update it quickly.  This deadline means you need to have the above materials to me well in advance.
  • I will send you an email as I complete each letter and submit it.  If you have not heard from me, assume I have not submitted your letter yet.  Do not be afraid to send me an email to ask for a status update or a gentle reminder.
  • Let me know what happens!  This is the only "payment" I ask for writing a letter.  I always want if you got the job or got into \the program.  Please drop me a quick email and fill me in! 
Research Supervision Requests
Many students want to include a research experience during their undergraduate time.  At Rollins, we offer a variety of opportunities, and we can help you find opportunities outside of Rollins as well.
If you want to do research outside of Rollins, set up a meeting with me.  We can discuss opportunities, and I can help you set up a schedule for applying to national programs.
If you want me to supervise a research experience at Rollins, please set up a meeting with me to discuss your interests and goals. Generally, we should meet 4-6 months prior to starting a research project, especially one for academic credit.  Bring any project ideas, notes, and details you may have with you.  We must agree on a project and the scope for that project.  I will usually require a written agreement before beginning any project.  This agreement simply ensures that expectations on both our parts are clear.