If you saw Sean Deitz outdoors in the middle of this winter’s Snowmageddon, dodging in between buildings with hair and a beard that is down to his navel and without a coat, it would be easy to assume that he is a madman. Taking time to get to know Deitz, this gentle, hard-working student is just like us, “Just another student, getting by.” said Deitz.
Deitz has been growing his legendary beard for almost six years now. A fan of colder weather, Deitz said he, “just doesn’t really get cold” and that he found the blizzard to be an awesome experience of “nature reasserting its power.”
At UIC, finishing a bachelors degree in four years is impressive. Sean finished his degree in two and a half years. Since then, Deitz has been working on his Doctorate in Computer Science and couldn’t be more humble about his accomplishments. “I’m just trying to get a degree like everyone else,” Deitz said. Deitz transferred into UIC with eight AP classes under his belt. More than anything, focusing on being a full time student, not working during the semester, allowed Sean to pursue academic excellence without distraction.
On top of researching thesis topics, maintaining the roles of Secretary and Chairman of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), a computer science organization on campus, Deitz also takes time to tutor students who are having difficulty in undergraduate classes.
Aside from tutoring students in need, Deitz contributes to the UIC experience by volunteering his time to be a teacher’s assistant in the Engineering 100 class, which teaches students how to be successful. Chris Maria Kuypers, Associate Director of the Academic Resource Center said, “Sean is my absolute favorite person in engineering. Aside from being a volunteer TA since he was an undergrad, he volunteers at college events and helps me out all the time. If I need Sean, he is there. He’s awesome.”
Besides being an academic rockstar who can withstand extreme arctic-like climate, Deitz can be found playing role-playing video games on a Friday night and loves his PlayStation 2. Deitz is also a big fan of eating bread. “In all forms,” Deitz said, “loaves, slices, fifty-cent day-old bread from Jimmy Johns, tortillas, whatever fits the budget.” Deitz has many heroes, one being his father because he, “brought me up right and gave me a sense of morals.”
Although Deitz may brush off his impressive academic achievements as, “I just study hard and play hard, that’s about it,” there is more to Deitz’s amazing personality than he lets onto. Kuypers said, “When the next big thing happens in computers, its going to be from Sean Deitz.” Kuypers opinion is shared by others as well, making Sean Deitz: The man. The beard. The legend.