Brett Karopczyc

Lecturer of Professional Practice in Computer Science

Brett smiling wearing blue and white button down shirt with books on bookshelves in office to the left

According to Lecturer Brett Karopczyc, machines will have a significant impact on how scientific discoveries are made in the not-too-distant future. Machine Learning— a subfield within Artificial Intelligence which is already used for image and speech recognition, enhanced medical diagnoses, and self-driving vehicles—will continue to expand into other tasks traditionally thought to require human intelligence.

“Machine Learning will have a dramatic impact on how scientific discoveries are made, how the world’s toughest problems like climate change are tackled, and the nature of human existence itself,” Karopczyc says. “Developing and deploying such systems in an ethical manner, carefully aligned with our values and goals, will require the contributions of a diverse mix of talents, including those outside the tech realm.”

Karopczyc’s fascination with computer science started at the age of five, and has carried with him his entire life. One of his earliest experiences involved helping his peers with an early programming language called BASIC when he was in third grade. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at the College of Engineering at Cornell University and a master’s in Computer Science from the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University.

“Sharing this passion with others has always been one of my most fulfilling rewards,” Karopczyc says. “The opportunity to share my interest and enthusiasm with the next generation of computer scientists at STAC and give back to the field that has treated me so well is certainly a privilege.”

In his Scientific Programming class, Karopczyc provides students with Jupyter Notebooks, which combine coding sections and narrative commentary. During class, students follow along on their laptops writing and executing Python code in real time. The combination of lecture notes and programming allows students to explore new ideas while gaining hands-on experience.

Karopczyc participated in STAC’s Exploring Mathematics and Computer Science event, which hosted over 40 students and instructors from a local high school, and engaged with students and teachers about the current computer science landscape. He also plans on volunteering in the STEAM Camps for middle school students and the Summer STEM Exploration Program for high school students this summer.

Before teaching at St. Thomas Aquinas College’s School of STEM, Karopczyc was chief technology officer at Bristol Capital, a communications consulting firm, for more than two decades. He was responsible for product creation, software development, and IT infrastructure and managed a team of software developers and communications engineers. Together, they wrote and maintained the company’s codebase, which held approximately 500,000 lines of code and helped generate millions of dollars in revenue annually. In 2011, at the International Avaya Users Group Global Conference, he delivered his presentation, Calculating Voice Services WAN Bandwidth Requirements, which described some of the software he wrote for Bristol Capital. Shortly after, he became a co-owner and eventually sold the company in 2017.

Outside of work, Karopczyc ventures outdoors to explore nature with his wife, Dr. Staci Shultz, an associate professor of English at STAC, and their Labrador Greta. He also enjoys playing the piano and riding his motorcycle through the Hudson Valley’s state parks.