- College Connections Stories
Get to know Norman Bashias
Behind every app, every computer game, every clever funny website you have visited, there is an equally clever computer programmer like Dr. Norman Bashias. Norman is a lecturer of computer science here at the University of Dayton. His journey to where he is now began early on in high school when a math teacher brought in a Hewlett Packard, one of the earliest desktop computers ever made. Norman found computers interesting and exciting but when he went to college he pursued biology before realizing two years in that he was truly happiest when he was in his programming class.
After switching majors Norman earned a BA in Computer Science from New York University. He worked in both the government and private sectors before going back to earn his MS in Computer Science from New York University. He holds an M.Ph. and a Ph.D. in Computer Science both from City University of New York.
When Norman was working on his Ph.D he was asked quite suddenly to take over a programming course and found that he loved teaching. He went on to teach for 15 years at Manhattanville College before joining the Computer Science department here at UD. Norman currently teaches Programming for Engineering and Science, Algorithms & Programming I, and Special Topics in CS: Creating Mobile Apps.
"The importance of programming cannot be understated, the reason that computers are so amazing and easy to use is because there has been a huge investment of man hours by programmers," Norman tells me. He is a self-proclaimed nerd who looks up to Steve Wozniak, the man credited with making the first color computer. "Programmers like 'Woz' set the stage for the technology we have today," Norman explains about his hero.
"As a teacher I still warn about the power of technology, as for students it is still very important to learn things without the technology dependence," he tells me, before explaining that in many programming courses the best way to learn the material is to hand write the algorithms before entering anything into a computer. It is not the kind of field that is easy and quick but requires skill and patience to program a machine that will help people to lead more efficient lives.
Norman spends his free time tending to his farm and his chickens. The paradox of a farming computer programmer suits Norman just fine. He and his wife Leilah have seven hens and one rooster named Pete. They have cats and dogs, and grow organic vegetables. Encouraged by their success with tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, and other such items, they have plans to start an orchard. The potential trees include apple, pear, and peach. Norman's son is also a farmer and they spend time together when they can. This life is a far cry from growing up in and around New York City. His parents came from Greece and took Norman back to visit often when he was growing up. Norman would like to go back and visit his mother’s family sometime in the future.
His favorite book is 1984 by George Orwell, and his favorite movie is the original The Day the Earth Stood Still. If time was no limit and he had unlimited money, Norman would travel all over the world, visiting with family and friends. This seems to be perfect for Norman as he has been described as the type to "seek new horizons, and explore new things." Like any intelligent, thoughtful, nerdy individual, Norman's advice to the world is just as insightful as he is … "Life is empirical. So keep experimenting, and keep trying new things." We are creatures of curiosity and we are programmed to discover, just like Norman Bashias.