Samuel Micka

Samuel Micka

Assistant Professor


Ph.D., Montana State University, Computer Science, May 8, 2020
B.S., University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh, Computer Science, January 23, 2015


I grew up in rural Wisconsin and lived in Montana for about six years during graduate school. I developed a passion for algorithms and geometry during my undergraduate degree and continued pursuing these interests throughout my PhD where I was advised by Dr. Brittany Fasy. I started running in undergraduate and this hobby grew into countless terribly expensive outdoor activities.

How did you discover Western?

I always wanted to end up at a teaching-oriented university where I could focus on helping students develop a passion for computer science. Early in my graduate school career I was told about Western by a friend. Staying in the mountains and continuing to play outside while focusing on education was exactly what I had always hoped for. I visited Gunnison during some backcountry skiing and running trips over the years and always hoped that I might, some day, have the opportunity to work and live here.

What are some of the highlights of your career?

Teaching my first course (Discrete Structures) at Montana State University was a fantastic experience. I always thought that I wanted to teach, and having the opportunity to run my own course reaffirmed this belief. Seeing students develop a passion for the material in a notoriously difficult course was, and always will be, fulfilling.

What most excites you about your field?

I really enjoy developing efficient solutions to complex problems. My research background is in algorithms, computational topology, and computational geometry. Outside of research, I enjoy teaching and getting students interested in computer science and mathematics.

What is your favorite thing about the Gunnison Valley?

Access to skiing, climbing, running, and anything else you could want in the outdoors. Additionally, the crowds are minimal, and the cold is fantastic!