After two years, computer science student leaves Rowan U with a bachelor's degree


Two years after he entered Rowan University, Thomas Grochowicz — barely 20 — is leaving the South Jersey school.

Two years after he entered Rowan University, Thomas Grochowicz — barely 20 — is leaving the South Jersey school.

Unlike some students, who pop into and out of college in a heartbeat, Grochowicz is leaving with a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

The Glen Gardner, Hunterdon County, native came to the Glassboro school armed with 47 Advanced Placement credits after graduating from Voorhees High School in 2007 and then took a full load of classes at the University, including 24 credits in Fall 2008.

A member of Rowan’s Thomas N. Bantivoglio Honors Concentration, Grochowicz graduated from high school with a 4.23. Sheepishly, he admitted he’s kind of bright (“I guess so.”) but that he was average in his high school class. “It was a public high school,” he said. “We had a ton of people taking AP classes. It was a very competitive environment.”

At Rowan, he was a standout. And he thought the school was as well.

“Our program is fantastic for computer science,” he said. “My teachers were always willing to help, and I got a bunch of great research opportunities with a couple of them.”
Grochowicz worked with Seth Bergmann on multi-threaded sorting algorithms, an innovative way to sort information electronically, and Drs. Joel Crichlow and Steve Hartley on communication methods between distributed servers, exploring ways to get data bases hosted on different computers to communicate more efficiently.

The opportunities, he said, were not unusual at Rowan, however. “As long as you look for them they’re here. But a whole bunch of my friends at other schools are having trouble picking up reserach,” he said. “The community is great. There is always so much to do. There are so many opportunities here that the bigger schools don’t necessarily have.”

He also appreciated involvement in the Honors Program. “The Honors Program was fantastic,” he added. “It gave me leadership opportunities. I was chair of Freshmen Mentoring. We organized mentors for all of the incoming Honors freshmen.”

Throughout his two years at Rowan, Grochowicz also has worked part time as a software developer at SFB Market Systems, a financial company based in Thorofare.

Completing his undergraduate college education in two years was a whirlwind. “It’s crazy. It took a lot of work to do it but it was worth it,” Grochowicz said. “I packed a lot of activities in two years and had a lot of fun too. I wasn’t stuck at my desk studying the whole time. I didn’t really plan to do this either; it just happened. A lot of colleges don’t accept that many AP credits. I came here and found out I was a sophomore, and with a normal course load it just happened.”

A number of honors have come Grochowicz’s way during the past two years. Among them, he was inducted into Upsilon Pi Epsilon, the computer science honor society in April; received an award from the dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS) for outstanding achievement in his field of study; and will speak at the CLAS commencement ceremony.

No doubt, Grochowicz, a son of Thomas and Michelle Grochowicz who grew up on the family farm, worked hard, and that hard work has opened more doors for him.

After graduation, he will attend Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore part time in a dual program in which he will earn a master’s in business administration and master’s degree in computer science.

Grochowicz, whose younger sister is entering Rowan in the fall to study education, plans to work to put himself through grad school.

“It was amazing to be accepted at Johns Hopkins,” he said. “I really love computer science, and I want to learn all I can about it. Johns Hopkins is a great place to be.”

He’s not sure what the future holds after that. He said, “I figure I’m young yet. I can figure it out later.”