Frances VanScoy

A portrait of Frances Vanscoy




B.S. Math, Michigan State University, 1970
Ph.D., Computer Science, University of Virginia, 1976

Frances Van Scoy joined the faculty at West Virginia University in 1979. An Ohio native, she considers herself a semi-native of West Virginia because of family roots in the South Branch Valley extending over 270 years. She received a B.S. in Mathematics from Michigan State University in 1970 and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Virginia in 1976. She was a faculty member at Old Dominion University1975-1979.

During her 30 plus years at West Virginia University she has re-invented herself professionally several times to meet the changing needs of the computer science program, the university, and the state. Her major activities have moved from parallel graph algorithms, to software development tools such as language sensitive editors, to Ada and software engineering, to computational materials science, to virtual environments and multisensory computing, to vision enhancement technology, to her current work in electronic game development. At each transition, part of her function was to learn a new specialty sufficiently well to teach others and to instigate research projects. As one example, her work help to lay the foundation for the MS SE program, and she was the first person in West Virginia with external funding to do research in Verification and Validation.

She worked in economic development during the early days of Software Valley and during the administration of Governor Cecil H. Underwood for whom she served as Coordinator for Advanced Scientific Computing Initiatives. As part of her work for the Governor she made multiple trips to Japan, Brazil, and Scotland and worked in Japan at Gifu University and at the Governor's Office of Technology branch office in Kakamigahara.

Her students have successful careers in various industries. Some have pursued academic careers, with two of them serving as department chairs. Others have worked as defense or space contractors. Still others have worked in entertainment technology and are named in the credits for major motion pictures (Shrek2 and Madagascar) and for AAA video games.