Computer Science

The Computer Science program is a great place to start for any aspiring computer scientist, who wants to confront problems and create digital solutions for tomorrow. Together, our faculty, staff, students, and alumni make the world a better place—day by day, project by project, step by step.

Computer science is the study and development of computers. It includes the theory in which computer research and technology is based, systems analysis and design, application and system software design, and networking. Key concepts within Computer Science are algorithms, computational thinking, and logic.

The specialization in Computer Science prepares students with core knowledge and skills needed for entry into baccalaureate schools of education programs in computer science.

Student Spotlight

Jonathan Branson

After 10 years in the restaurant business, Jonathan Branson decided to give college another shot. He graduated in May with an associate of science degree in computer science.

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Associate of Science Degree
2 Years (4 Full-Time Semesters)

Program Information and Curriculum


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The Associates of Science: Computer Science Specialization will transfer within several pathways, while preparing students to also enter the work force upon graduation. Graduates have successfully transferred to:

News and Awards

The computer science faculty and students are very active and are often recognized and making the news.

  • Best Associate in Computer has ranked Laurel Ridge’s Computer Science program as 5th most affordable associates degree in the Best VaLUE logostate of Virginia. Read more by clicking here. ranked the program as 23rd most affordable in the U.S. You can read more about the ranking by clicking here. Laurel Ridge’s program also is placed at 16th for the Best Online Associate Degree in Computer Science according to
  • Dr. Stange was honored at JMU by the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council at their Tech Nite with the Innovations in Higher Education Award, which was sponsored by Cadence Inc. Other nominees were Shenandoah University’s eSports program and Blue Ridge Community College’s Go Virginia Cyber Security Program.
  • The Global Solutions Computer Science Team, placed 2nd at the final summit held in Washington, D.C. You can watch the team in action on the Aspen Institute’s Summit webpage. See the Virtual Fair on IREX’s website, NVCC also Participated.
  • Dr. MDr. Stange, Dr. Blosser, & Dr. Coffman 2019 EIE Award Photoelissa Stange and Dr. Henry Coffman were honored with an Excellence in Education 3rd place award from the Virginia Community College System for their “Authentic Competency-Based Learning to Develop an Industry Ready Cyber Science Graduate”. They are pictured with Laurel Ridge President Blosser at the New Horizons Conference in Roanoke.
  • Laurel Ridge’s Computer Science Specialization listed as #2 for 2018 at:  In 2017, the program was listed 17th best in nation by Best Computer Science Schools. Read more at
  • Dr. Melissa Stange leads the Computer Science program to being recognized as an Exemplary CTE Program in the state. To the right is photograph of Dr. Stange, Dean Byard, and Vice-President Kellison receiving the award. See the entire list of winners on the VDOE website here. Additional photos may be seen from the event herehere, and here.
  • Monthly Technology Talk Series with Industry, known as Tech Bytes. Read the press release by clicking here and go to the series site by clicking here. These presentations will be done in person at the Middletown Campus and distance to the Fauquier Campus. The public is welcome with registration.
  • What the Hack is the Mainframe? Laurel Ridge computer science faculty partner with Major League Hacking (MLH) to host a workshop to introduce the IBM Z mainframe and to assist participants in completing Part 1 of the Master The Mainframe Competition. Read the Laurel Ridge press release here and the infromation on the River 95.3 here.
  • Laurel Ridge was honored to have Assistant Secretary of State for Education and Cultural Affairs, Marie Royce (@ECAatState) visit Laurel Ridge and included them in their video about the Stevens Initiative.  In the Below video you will see some of Laurel Ridge’s team members and others from the U.S. and other countries talking about the develop projects that address challenges in their communities. Virtual exchanges create a #WorldClassConnection!
  • Students and Faculty in the Computer Science program are encouraged to use their knowledge of computers to improve society by dedicating their time in their local communities.

Team Leaders with Asst. Sec. Royce

  • Global Solutions Sustainability Challenge – Virtual Exchange – BottleBot – Dr. Stange, Professor of Computer Science, facilitated a group of 19 Laurel Ridge students too part in an international virtual exchange with students at Khawarizmi College in Jordan. The challenge was supported by the Stevens initiative, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State See more in the news reports on WDVM, and The Winchester Star. The students will continue on in the next round of competition in March, in Washington D.C.
  • Dr. Stange had the honor to talk about the technology programs at Laurel Ridge on The Valley Today – River 95.3 (WZRV) radio show. Listen to the 25 minute discussion.


Laurel Ridge employs faculty who have many years of teaching and professional experiences along with a variety of professional certifications.

Dr. Melissa Stange has over 25 years of experience as a technology professional working in the Image of Dr. Stangeindustries of Government, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Non-Profit, and Education. She has worked in numerous types of technology positions including computer programming, systems analyst, systems design & administration, project management, computer research, technical trainer, and technical support.  Professor Stange has taught courses in assembly language, computer concepts, computer organization, computer science, digital literacy, foundation of networking, Python, Java, Microsoft Office, and software design. Dr. Stange holds several degrees, professional certifications and has a variety of research publications. She is a senior member of the IEEE, active in the ACM, and the Computer Science program lead at Laurel Ridge. You can contact Dr. Stange through her employee directory page or through email at [email protected].

Professor John Faircloth recently retired after working for 34 years in the Information Technology (IT) area. He has a broad experience working in both private industry and the federal government. His private industry experience includes working for IBM, SRA, Northrop Grumman, AOL, K12, and MITRE. His Federal Government experience includes management and engineering positions at the Department of Homeland Security and US Department of Education. He  is now teaching Computer Science as the Duel Enroll Computer Science Instructor for Mountain Vista Governor’s School (MVGS). Mr. Faircloth holds a Masters Degree in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Ohio State University.

Dr. Sam El Gbouri is a multi-disciplinary technology professional, with a career that started in Morocco as an Electronics Engineer for Highways detection devices some 25 years ago. His daily work revolves around drafting and organizing policy and guidance in multiple training fields in the federal government. Dr. El Gbouri is active in research publications, his most cherished times are shared between his family hikes and his podcasting and writing passions. Dr. EL Gbouri holds a number of highly regarded military awards for his service with the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Dr. El Gbouri Holds a Doctorate in Information Assurance, a Masters in Science in Cybersecurity, and a Dual Major Bachelor’s Degree in Information Systems Management and Business Administration Management.

ec-council partnerOur partnership offers cost-effective, authorized learning resources for enrolled technology students to properly prepare them for EC-Council exams and ultimately their careers after graduation. Students will have the opportunity to achieve industry recognized certifications and compete in free cyber competitions as they complete their degree programs, achieving the ultimate stackable credential lineup to enhance their resume.

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