Tony Tong

Assistant professor of computer science

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science, Millsaps College
  • Ph.D. in computer science, Florida State University

Tony TongWhy I became an educator: “My undergraduate experience at a small liberal arts college shaped my perspective on an ideal higher education and inspired my career choice. The nurturing environment created by the close interactions with faculty allowed me to grow both interpersonally and intellectually. After I graduated from college, I went to get a Ph.D. so that I can teach in college one day. Here I am.”

What led me to my field: “For the first two years of college, I was an accounting major. I took ‘Introduction to Programming I’ to satisfy a requirement at the end of my sophomore year without any prior programming experience. I found it very interesting, so I decided to take a few more courses to get a minor in computer science. Solving algorithm problems is fascinating to me and it makes me feel more accomplished than crunching numbers for a balance sheet. So, I switched to computer science in my junior year.”

My current research focus: “My current research interests include performance modeling and simulation of high-performance computing applications. I also apply machine-learning techniques to study the communication pattern of parallel applications using a message-passing interface. I plan to start working on a text-mining project that analyzes movie reviews.”

Why I chose Wheaton: “Students. I enjoyed my conversations with the students when I came for my interview. The students here at Wheaton showed genuine interest and curiosity for knowledge. They were not afraid of asking tough questions and participating in discussions.”

What I want every student to learn: “I encourage students to explore all the opportunities while they can. Take classes from different disciplines—as many as you can handle. Keep an open mind and experience food, books and movies across the globe. Engage in dialogues with people of diverse backgrounds, listen to other people’s stories and think outside of the box. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and ask questions. Everything takes time, and you learn from the mistakes you made, especially in programming.”

What few people know about me: “I love planning for road trips and studying maps of all kinds.”

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