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Senior looks to follow in mother’s footsteps

Kimberly Butler

Kimberly Butler is the 2013 Outstanding Junior for the computer science department. Like her mother, a 1987 University of Missouri-St. Louis computer science graduate, the now-senior is looking at internships and possible research into databases.

Wisdom often is passed through generations. “Like mother, like daughter” is an aphorism that follows Kimberly Butler, a senior in computer science at MU. She is working on the department’s fast track master’s degree program, which earns her bachelor’s and graduate degrees in five years, and is the second computer science major in her family, following in her mother’s footsteps.

“I originally came to Mizzou wanting to do mathematics. I wanted to teach math,” Butler said. “Then I started looking at the College of Engineering because my mom was in computer science. She went to UMSL [University of Missouri-St. Louis].”

Her mother, Karen, serves not only as an inspiration, but as a resource, Butler said.

“Whenever I’m doing homework for computer science, I can call her if I’m having a problem,” Butler said. “She’ll do some research and help me figure out the problem. She’s so smart, she can figure out anything.”

At her academic adviser’s suggestion, she enrolled in one computer science course after another, finding each more interesting than the last. Last summer, Butler completed an internship with Pfizer — where her mother has worked the last 16 years —  in the Research and Development IT department at its St. Louis location.

“We would support the scientists with any computer problems they would have in the lab,” she said. As the only IT intern in that location, Butler helped build and install 60 computers for labs in the facility.

“I also worked on a presentation with other IT interns at different locations,” Butler said, adding that there were about 40 total interns for the company that summer in the R&D departments at other locations.

A Bright Flight scholar, Butler said her main interest now is databases.

“This past semester, I was in a database class. I just loved that class,” she said. “I’m really interested in working more with databases, so I’m taking another database class and I’m hoping to conduct some research with them next year.”

Butler was named the CS Department’s outstanding junior for 2013. She is a member of Phi Mu, where she works with recruitment, and Upsilon Pi Epsilon, the computer science honors society. She also serves as webmaster for Mizzou’s chapter of Engineering World Health, which aims to promote the practice and education of improving health care in developing nations.

Butler hopes to secure another internship with Pfizer this summer and said after her expected graduation in May 2015, in job in industry.