April 2016 Family Newsletter

Spring is in the Air

Dear Spiders Family,

After a surprisingly mild Syracuse winter, we are now enjoying the benefits of warmer weather: more sunshine, less layers, and the anticipation of summer.

As another semester progresses, we want to highlight the diversity of skills that exist in our office. Not only are there talented writers, designers, and developers, but we also have skilled chefs, artists, and musicians. Read on to learn about Jeremy Dennen’s aspirations as a triple major, view Monica Rexach and Kate Percevault’s latest works of art, and catch up with Spiders alum Chelsea Lorenz ’14.

With spring in full swing, we hope all of you are happy and healthy. Please enjoy the April newsletter!

Will Skalmoski

Getting To Know Jeremy Dennen

The Man With Three Majors

For the April edition of the Family Newsletter, we sat down with Jeremy Dennen. A Spider since fall 2014, Jeremy is a senior on the web development team.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Jeremy had the opportunity to spend time in recording studios with his dad, a recording engineer who specializes in film scores and orchestral recordings. This exposed Jeremy to a wide array of people, music, and cultures throughout his youth. It fostered his love for music and he now plays three instruments: guitar, bass, and violin.

Among Spiders, it’s no secret that Jeremy has taken on a heavy course load. A renaissance man of many interests, he will earn three degrees before leaving SU, including psychology, computer science, and neuroscience. A product of the diverse LA community, Jeremy became increasingly interested in human behavior and how people “work.” As a freshman, he decided to pursue psychology, aiming to earn a PhD and spend his professional career doing research. However, after taking a disenchanting lab class, he began to consider other fields of study.

Jeremy came to Syracuse with a full-year of college credit under his belt, which gave him time to pick up a computer science major, in addition to psychology. He started learning to code independently to supplement his classes. This led him to his job at Spiders, at the recommendation of Spiders alum Mikey Brandt ‘15. Jeremy now describes software engineering as his “passion,” and plans to pursue this as his career.

The third major? Realizing he only had a few classes to go in order to complete a neuroscience degree, Jeremy added that in for good measure.

Keeping busy with an average of 18 credits per semester and his job at Spiders, Jeremy finds time to stay socially and culturally engaged. He is a regular attendee at local concerts, a member of Theta Chi Fraternity, and a participant in the Information Security Club. In his limited free time, he also writes poetry and enjoys going on hikes.

In five years, Jeremy sees himself developing software in either New York City or San Francisco. If possible, he hopes to work for a music-centric company, such as Spotify.

Stay in touch with Jeremy on our Staff page >

IMG_9178Listen In!

Check out our spring playlist to hear what Spiders are listening to!

Spotify | YouTube



Food for Thought

We’ve always documented our potlucks with photos, but now we have an archive of our best recipes!
Have a recipe you want to share with the Spiders Family? Send it to spiders@syr.edu!

Spider Bites >

Alumni Spotlight

Chelsea Lorenz

After cutting her teeth at Spiders as a web developer and designer, Chelsea Lorenz moved to Austin, Texas to work for IBM. After nearly two years of rising through the company’s corporate structure, Chelsea spoke with us about her successes, lessons learned, and career at Spiders.

Born and raised in New York City, Chelsea Lorenz came to Syracuse University as a student athlete. Through her sophomore year she played outfield and pitched for SU’s softball team. Due to an unfortunate injury after her second season, she could no longer play competitively. With her newfound free time, she began looking for a part time job. Thankfully, she found Spiders.

After becoming acquainted with Spiders, Chelsea began working as a web developer and graphic designer. Her diverse skill set led to a heavy workload, and she embarked on several important team projects. Chelsea worked with a Spiders team called the “Black Widows” to revamp the Graduate Admissions website. She considers this her most rewarding Spiders experience. As a group, the Black Widows were a strong, all-female team—something unique for the IT field.

Primed with experience and confidence, Chelsea began her career with IBM in the summer of 2014. In her first role as a software engineer, she supervised the use of a data analytics product that online retailers use to measure activity, such as product views, and generated recommendations for customers. Her team, dedicated to making the data readable for clients, quickly realized a critical hole in their process: IBM lacked a library for the UI tools used to express their data. When Chelsea began to work on this resource, she was recruited and promoted to manage the evolving UI library for IBM Commerce as a front end developer. This has been a major project for IBM, and offices from all over the world contribute to it.

When asked about her accelerated, professional growth, Chelsea offered advice to Spiders and recent graduates: “Be confident and willing to speak up. When you’re first out of college, you have a lot more recently stimulated, advanced ideas that aren’t necessarily happening at the company. Take advantage of that and don’t be afraid to propose those ideas. They’ll jump on it!”

Mulling over her favorite Jono memory, Chelsea recalls a time when Jono gave Tori Holcomb ’14 a massive poster of her dog, a surprise that amused the whole office. Furthermore, with Jono’s advice, Chelsea negotiated her first contract with IBM—the only new employee in her office to do so.

As Spiders, we must remember that our talents and experience ready us for success. We congratulate Chelsea on her many achievements and appreciate the example that she has set for us!

Spider Artists

In the designers’ cube, Monica Rexach ‘17 and Kate Percevault ‘16 stay busy creating all things visual for Spiders. Both Monica and Kate have shared some of their recent work with us. Enjoy!

bill_belichick_by_monica_rexach_1024Monica Rexach

Monica created this illustration to comment on the Bill Belicheck controversy that rocked the NFL over the summer. Monica chose to compare Belicheck’s fall from grace to the story of Icarus from Greek mythology. Beginning with a hand drawn sketch, Monica then traced the image in Illustrator for the surreal effect. When asked about the process, Monica grimaced and said, “This one took a long time… about a week I think.”






Munchsl_10Kate Percevault

Kate has long been a go-to Spider for visual branding and product design. One of her latest projects, Munch Space Lunch, features a low-cost option for packaged, healthy food. In order to make the freeze-dried fruits and vegetables more appealing to sweet tooths, Kate had the assignment of creating a package targeted toward kids that played off the “space food” idea.