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Golf Alum Jason Lawrence (CIT ’01) Making Big Impact at the University of Virginia

Golf Alum Jason Lawrence (CIT ’01) Making Big Impact at the University of Virginia

After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University, Jason Lawrence (CIT '01) decided that he never wanted to leave the confines of a college campus. Following his time in Pittsburgh, the former golf standout headed to Princeton University, where he received his PhD in computer science in 2006. That same year, he accepted a position on the faculty at the University of Virginia and has remained in Charlottesville since then as an associate professor in the department of computer science.

"I was around a lot of academics and saw what they worked on. It was a source of inspiration," Lawrence said. "I'm very happy I landed in academia. It's been a very rewarding career."

As a faculty member at UVA, Lawrence has enjoyed the opportunity to teach a number of courses, including computer graphics and computer vision. He also teaches introductory-level computer science courses and supervises PhD candidates. Working with students has been the most rewarding part of Lawrence's experience.

"I think it's just interacting with smart people on a daily basis and working on problems with deep intellectual value. That's a real luxury," Lawrence said. "It's a very supportive community with wonderful students. Being able to serve as a mentor has been very rewarding."

In 2010, Lawrence co-founded Arqball ( with a colleague from the University of Virginia. A 360-degree photography platform, the company provides clients with a tool that enables adding visualizations of products on their websites.

"Companies use Arqball to make interactive photos of the things they sell," Lawrence said. "My background is in computer graphics and computer vision. With the emergence of portable computing devices, we saw the opportunity to add richer and more interactive media. The company has been very well received."

While at Carnegie Mellon, Lawrence concentrated in electrical and computer engineering and earned a minor in computer science. The Lexington, Kentucky native credits his time on the Oakland campus as a major reason for his professional success.

"I remember working very hard and that paid off," Lawrence said. "At the time, I probably didn't appreciate the quality of the people I was interacting with and that were educating me. There's no question that I received a world-class education. I have a unique set of skills due to the time I spent at Carnegie Mellon and what I learned there."

Lawrence also received an education on the golf course, as he spent four years as a member of the intercollegiate program at Carnegie Mellon.

"I have wonderful memories of the golf team. Some of the best experiences of my college career were playing golf and interacting with my teammates," Lawrence said. "I really enjoyed the competition and I think that helped me a lot. Coach (Rich) Erdelyi is a mentor of mine and helped me in many ways. It's a period of my life that means a lot to me."

With golf being such an important part of his experience at Carnegie Mellon, Lawrence has made giving back to the program a priority.

"I remember how much it helped me and what it did for me. I understand the resource constraints at any institution and what it costs to support a program like that," Lawrence said. "I thought it was important to add my support for the university's athletic programs and provide kids with a similar opportunity as I had."

Lawrence met his wife Amber Post during his studies at Princeton, as she was working on her PhD in Physics. Post is now enrolled at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and with the help of her husband, is picking up the game of golf.

"We're finding time to get out once a week. She's really taken to golf and it's fun teaching her the game," Lawrence said. "It's a sport that continues to have a place in my life and will for a long time."