App State S-STEM alumnus gives back to support future scholars

Appalachian State University’s Department of Computer Science recognizes Clinton Freeman ’11 and his company of employment, Valve Corporation, for the generous donation of $6500 to the department. Freeman completed a B.S. in Computer Science and is a former National Science Foundation (NSF) S-STEM scholar. Valve Corporation, also known as Valve Software or Valve, is a video game developer, publisher and digital distribution company headquartered in Bellevue, Washington that recently allowed employees to donate to an agency or school of choice.

“During his time at Appalachian, Clinton earned excellent grades, actively participated in the mentoring activities of the S-STEM program and served as a web-master for our scholarship programs,” said, Dr. Rahman Tashakkori, Appalachian S-STEM director and chair of the Department of Computer Science.

The National Science Foundation sponsored S-STEM scholarship program at Appalachian is called Appalachian High Achievers in STEM. The program provides $6,000 annually for up to four years to students with financial need and academic talent entering their freshmen year with an intent to major in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) majors.

The main purpose of the S-STEM program is to attract and help students succeed in majors such as chemistry, computer science, geology, applied mathematics and physics. The program provides a nurturing atmosphere that encourages excellence and builds collaborations between students, faculty and the community.

Although the program has grant funding, there is not enough to support all the interested students in one major, such as Computer Science, who are eligible to receive S-STEM scholarships. Freeman’s directed donation will go to support other interested computer science majors exhibiting financial need.

"I grew up in Boone and graduated from Appalachian. The mentorship and resources provided by the S-STEM program were critical to me staying on the right path and getting the most out of my time at Appalachian.” Freeman said.

Freeman recognizes the value of his undergraduate education, in particular courses in math and science, and the activities in the S-STEM program fueled his interests and prepared him for his current career. Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, Freeman attended UNC Chapel Hill to complete his graduate degree in Computer Science before joining Valve.

The S-STEM program provides mentoring opportunities with weekly seminars, study groups, tutoring, a leadership workshop series, peer-mentoring, community building and a resume writing and internship/job search workshop. 

“I was always interested in game engine programming, and the professors in the Computer Science department were greatly supportive of that interest. This support was a key factor in allowing me to eventually land at Valve Corporation, a top-tier firm in the gaming industry. I am directing this gift from my company to the S-STEM program so that the next generation of students can have the same sort of opportunities I did," Freeman said.

The Department of Computer Science will use the donation to support students who are in need during these challenging times. For more information about the S-STEM program, please visit


About the Department of Computer Science
Appalachian’s Department of Computer Science provides a rigorous, high-quality education that prepares students for the computing industry or graduate education. It offers a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science, which is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, and a Master of Science degree in computer science. Learn more at

Story collaboration by Ellen Gwin Burnette and Dr. Rahman Tashakkori
Sept. 3, 2020

Clinton Freeman ’11, B.S. in Computer Science and member of Valve Corporation. Photo Submitted.
Published: Sep 3, 2020 11:48am