Computer Science

Sort Spotlights by

Leah Jennings ’15

Leah Jennings

  • Intern at the Department of Homeland Security, Corry Station in Pensacola

A senior double major in computer science and software engineering and computer information systems, Leah Jennings is proactive in her career as both a student and a professional. When her teachers mentioned a local internship opportunity with the Department of Homeland Security (located at Corry Station in Pensacola), Leah sent out her résumé and was accepted within a couple of weeks.

“Cyber security is one of the fields that I am interested in, so I was very intrigued by this internship,” said Leah, who, from the start, knew this experience would not only guide her career path, but also challenge her development in her field.

“The internship program with DHS at Corry Station has three different areas for the interns to rotate through, versus the traditional focus in one area or department,” Leah explained. “This gave me such a wide exposure to the various departments, teams, and work that each accomplishes.”

In her internship rotations, Leah researched and implemented new Linux software with the Linux system administration, served with the Security Operations Center (SOC) team, and worked alongside a senior developer, aiding in the overall mission of defending the federal network.

Though the internship began as a summer opportunity, DHS invited her to stay through the school year and work part-time. Now Leah wakes before most of her fellow college students to get to her early morning shift at Corry Station, in addition to working different afternoon hours.

“A challenging position and career is important to me,” she acknowledged. “Ultimately I hope to positively impact those I work with and those I serve. The world today needs more Christian leaders, and I hope to answer that call and be an example for others to follow.”

Leah attributes her current success to her education at PCC. “I’ve been challenged by my computer science teachers to never stop learning. Seeing their passion for computer science and their care for each of their students constantly makes me strive to do better than I did the day before.”

When asked if she has any advice for her peers, Leah answered resoundingly, “If you are in a major that typically offers internships, find them! You won’t realize until you’ve finished an internship how invaluable it is to your career.”

View more information about Computer Science and Software Engineering and Computer Information Systems at PCC.

Troy Arwine ’97

Brad Cansler

  • Security Consultant, Microsoft Consulting for IT Operations

Computer science grad Troy Arwine (’97) works as a security consultant in Microsoft Consulting for IT Operations.  There he secures the computers and information systems for some of the largest companies and agencies in the world against cyber threats and malicious users.

“My training at PCC paved the way for a world of opportunities over the last fifteen years for a technology career in government, education, and Fortune 500 companies,” Troy said.  “Before coming to Microsoft, I worked in many positions where the Lord prepared me for my current role.  I worked as a programmer for Abeka Book, then as a systems engineer for Dollar General Corporation in Tennessee.  I worked as the enterprise division manager for Metro Nashville Government until 2005 when I joined Microsoft.

“The instructors at PCC were crucial in helping me develop the skills I needed to be successful in a career in programming, systems engineering, IT management, support, and consulting.  It was not just their technical expertise and gifted teaching abilities, but by putting God first and foremost in every aspect of their teaching, they inspired a like passion in me for putting Christ first in my career.  The diversity of programming languages accompanied by the balanced background in network, operating systems, and computer mathematics helped me understand how to adapt to the rapidly changing cyber security world.”

With multiple security certifications, Troy regularly speaks at IT security conferences around the U.S. and serves in the FBI InfraGard.  In 2010 he earned a master’s degree in information assurance from the University of Dallas.

“Microsoft values integrity, honesty, and willingness to take on big challenges and see them through,” Troy said.  “These are values I developed first at PCC in the computer science program.”

View more information about Computer Science and Software Engineering at PCC.

John Lepone ’95

John Lepone

Before working with Verizon for 15 years, John Lepone ('95) took a significant step in the world of web programming. “In the late ’90s I created the world’s first business credit card application website for Advanta Business Cards, a division of Advanta National Bank,” said Lepone. “This is not a big deal today, but back then it was HUGE.”

After programming business websites for 8 years, Lepone began working for Verizon in 2003, a position that would last 15 years and lead to him becoming a senior member of technical staff. While there, he was involved with both business and programming sides of the company, managing projects, software development, and technical guidelines, as well as programming software for automated data entry and processing systems within the company to further company efficiency.

In 2013, Lepone assisted his wife Kimberly (’94) in starting Reflections Dramatic Productions, LLC. Each year, Kimberly directs Christian homeschool students for two separate plays that show either clear application of biblical principles or give a direct presentation of the gospel. After seeing her need on the technical side of the plays, Lepone stepped in to help. Lepone developed and programmed custom theater lights and sound production applications, and designed scene lighting to provide live lighting changes and sound cues for each of the performances. “With each performance, I get to work with my wife, my children, and other Christians to help further the gospel,” he said.

In 2018, Lepone launched LEP1 Customs, LLC, a small CNC design and production company that builds arcade video game cabinets and custom cabinet skins. The idea to start the business began in 2012 with his successful hobby of building and selling the cabinets from his garage after building a CNC machine, an automated machine that cuts material to match a preprogrammed blueprint. Soon after starting the company, it seemed to be in the Lord’s timing.

Although John thrived at Verizon, an organizational shift brought layoffs to the company but gave him an offer to transfer to an India-based consulting firm. “Not having peace with this situation, and praying over it with my wife Kim, I declined the offer, and made plans to operate LEP1 Customs full time.”

Since then, Lepone has partnered with Pete Wagg (’94), a graphic designer that he’s known since his time at PCC, to provide the artwork for the arcade cabinets. Before working on LEP1 Customs, Pete and his wife Cindy (’94) had been prayer warriors for the family due to health needs as well as good friends over the years. It only seemed natural for him to turn to Pete as a mutually beneficial business partner.

Much of the work John does for LEP1 Customs covers more than just programming skills. He’s done everything from creating the g-code blueprint of the cabinets to programming, editing, and running the company website.

“Having faculty members like Dr. Cummings [who has since retired] and Dr. Howell, who were previously in the corporate world before coming to PCC to pass their hard-earned knowledge to students, was invaluable,” he said. “Many people graduate from college with an extreme focus in an area and cannot operate outside of that narrow band. The education I received at PCC allowed me to grow into a well-rounded person that can succeed in areas where others without the broad technological understanding would fail. Let’s face it, no matter how good a school is, the technology changes so fast that what you learned a year ago is behind the times. What doesn’t change is theory, design principles, and such,” which he got plenty of, he said.

Over the years, John has seen his daughters attend and graduate from PCC and find comfort in their calling to study there just as he had. “After coming down for College Days, meeting with the computer science faculty, and seeing the campus with my own eyes, I was sure that PCC was the college for me,” Lepone said. “What greater joy can we realize in our children that after salvation they seek to do the Lord’s will in whatever God has for them to do? The fact that they believed that studying at PCC was part of God’s will is just icing on the cake.”

Lepone finds comfort in how his life has progressed, following the Lord wherever He seems to nudge him to next. “It seems His preferred way to teach me is to bring me to the brink of an impossible situation, let me see how hopelessly inadequate I am to resolve it, only to work out everything in a way that I could never imagine,” he said. “God has shown that He knows what we need and will never fail us.”

Scott Brady ’16

Scott Brady

Clicking away on his keyboard during his final year of high school, self-taught programmer Scott Brady (’16) wasn’t thinking about his senior class trip or what his major in college would be. He was focused on saving money—a lot of money—for craft superstore Jo-Ann Fabrics.

“When I was a senior in high school, I knew I wanted to do programming for a living when I made the program for the headquarters of Jo-Ann Fabrics that saved them hundreds of thousands of dollars a year,” said Scott.

Scott’s interest had been piqued a few years earlier when he picked up a book about making computer games. Over the course of the summer, he taught himself how to program. As a freelance programmer, he had many opportunities to hone his skills.

But he knew college would give him the background he would need to start his own business. As a Christian, Scott wanted to attend a solid Christian college that would help him further his software engineering knowledge. “PCC gave me a good foundation in programming, but more importantly, it taught me to learn on my own,” he said. “The assignments that were given at PCC required me to learn outside of the classroom. That is an incredibly important skill in this field. Programming changes daily, so I get to teach myself new things all the time.”

Being able to adapt to an ever-changing environment was not the only skill he learned at PCC. “The education I received at PCC was very well rounded,” said Scott. “It helped me with things I wouldn’t have anticipated. My speech and business classes have helped me when talking to potential customers or investors, and my Bible classes gave me a biblical grounding for my businesses.”

While still a junior in college, Scott created an app to speed read e-books and articles on smart phones and wearable devices. His app was featured on Huffington Post and was in the top 25 paid apps in the Android App Store.

After graduating from PCC, Scott and fellow computer science and software engineering grad Brandon Carroll (’15) founded their own startup, creating two impressive programs.

The first app is a platform that allows teachers to set and track goals for their students. As the students meet the goals, they earn rewards in the app. Before Scott and Brandon created the app, Brandon was working with charter schools and saw the need for students to invest in their own learning experience. “We created the app in order to help students get excited about learning again and to assist teachers in challenging their students to do their best,” said Scott.

The second app was created after Scott’s church asked him if there was a program that allowed people to give to their church online. He began to research what was already available and was quite surprised at what he found. “As I looked through the options available to churches for online giving, I saw a problem,” he said. “Whenever a card is charged, there is a processing fee that is added to the total. All of the other giving platforms deduct that processing fee from what the church receives. So whenever a person gives something like a tithe, not all of their money actually reaches the church.” Scott realized this problem could easily be resolved if an app were available that would let the giver pay the processing fee so that the church would receive all of the money.

“God has given me a desire to help kids and to help churches,” said Scott. “I believe that is why God led me to help create these apps.” Through these programs, Scott actively changes how people interact, influencing lives one app at a time.

Learn More

Check out PCC’s major in computer science and software engineering and major in computer information systems.

PCC graduates and students use their training in remarkable ways. Read about how God is using them in their field of study.

Sign up for PCC eNews