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Fall 2008 | The Next Chapter

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Ryan Pavlik
Ryan Pavlik ’09
Summer of code
By Katrina Marshall ’09

Ryan Pavlik ’09 has a passion for code. Computer code, that is.

For two consecutive summers, this St. Norbert senior had the opportunity to participate in a pseudo-internship with the Google Summer of Code program, where Google paid him to work on community-supported open-source software.

“Open-source software is computer software where the basic codes (source code) are not only free to share, but free to modify,” says Pavlik. “Mozilla Firefox is one example of open-source software.”

Pavlik explains that the Google Summer of Code is a competitive program that attracts many applicants. He had to select a software project to apply for, come up with a proposal and hope to be selected for one of the few available slots.

Pavlik has been working on the application program AbiWord, a free, open-source word processing application that runs not only on Windows, but also on the Linux and Mac operating systems.

“Last summer, I performed the work necessary to bring the real-time collaboration software in AbiWord to Windows; prior to that, it only worked on Linux,” he says. “This lets multiple people, anywhere in the world, work on the same word processing document at the same time.”

This summer, Pavlik worked to make the powerful document-formatting features more user-friendly by redesigning that interface.

As a triple major in computer science, math and Spanish, Pavlik says there are other benefits to the Google Summer of Code program besides, well, a summer (or two) of code.

“The global nature of the program is great. Through the internet, I work with people all over the world. I do the work from my own home, and am assigned a mentor who has been a volunteer developer with the software program for a long time.”

Last year, Pavlik’s mentor was from the Netherlands and this year his mentor lived in Canada.

“I also regularly work with developers from Boston and Melbourne, Australia,” says Pavlik, who actually applied for the summer 2008 program via his laptop from Valencia, Spain, while studying abroad.

In addition to this seasonal Google work, Pavlik, originally from the Green Bay area, has owned and operated his own computer repair and consulting business, RyAnd Computing, for five years. He provides his more than 80 customers with services that range from computer repairs, to business networking and web application design, to contracted programming on AbiWord.

After graduation next May, Pavlik plans to pursue a master’s degree or Ph.D. in computer science – “Likely in the field of human computer interaction,” he says, a focus closely linked to the work he did this summer.

Fall 2008 magazine

Web extras Web exclusives
Look here for web-only content that expands on topics presented in the current
St. Norbert College Magazine (PDF).

Photo Gallery Panama research experience
Explore images from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Photo Gallery A most excellent celebration
View images from the inauguration of the new president.

Video The Pursuit of Excellence
Watch the inaugural address delivered by Thomas Kunkel.

Photo Gallery Out to Africa
A photographic essay brings a Zambian connection to life.

Text Extra Bodyguard to the Packers
Enjoy recollections of the Ice Bowl, from the new book by Mike Dauplaise ’84.

Video “Communio”
This new video celebrates the college’s long heritage.

Story ideas? Your ideas for future magazine stories are most welcome. Write to the editor with any suggestions or comments.

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