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'If you see a problem, fix it!'


Jacob Niebloom leads a study session for CSC 171, The Science of Programming.

“If you love what you do, you’ll always find time to do it,” says Jacob Niebloom ’18, a computer science major who manages to run two online companies in addition to taking classes and being a workshop leader for another.

“My trick with finding time: Never stopping,” he says.

Niebloom, who lives in the New Jersey Metropolitan area, exemplifies the take-charge, entrepreneurial spirit that the Hajim School seeks to encourage in its students.  He fell in love with computers at an early age. The Hebrew Day School he attended did not offer a single computer science course; nonetheless, using self-taught skills, Niebloom developed a facilities, work-order management system app while interning during high school at a New Jersey hospital. It was adopted statewide by other hospitals in the same system.

And that was before Niebloom came to the University of Rochester. He chose the University because of the flexibility it gives him for both study and entrepreneurial pursuits.

Not surprisingly, when he leads a study workshop for the Department of Computer Science, Niebloom does not “spoon feed” answers to his students. Instead, he teaches them how to find the answers for themselves. Just like he did.

Niebloom is grateful for the opportunity this gave him to intern at what he describes as the “holy grail” of computing.  An adjunct professor who saw him leading workshops suggested he apply to PARC, a Xerox company that has pioneered such technology platforms as the Ethernet and laser printing, the GUI and ubiquitous computing.

Niebloom worked there as summer intern, then as a work study intern. “A lot of it was building really powerful, fast websites, as tools for researchers within Xerox to analyze big data. At PARC I learned how to turn what I had learned in the classroom into a production-based platform.”

He will be able to add that to his resume, alongside URDining, the online app he co-owns that lets students access dining hall menus, and Edu.Chat, the app he and his partners hope will someday replace current educational software as the go-to online learning tool for college campuses.

“So many people just sit back and watch and don’t accomplish anything, or they wait for an opportunity to come to them,” Niebloom said. That’s not how he was brought up, he adds.

“If you see a problem, fix it!”