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Michael Szul

Since 1998, I have developed software for large, established companies like AIG and Conde Naste, as well as fast growing start-ups like Performance Media Group, in roles ranging from senior programmer to director of development. As a partner at Barbella Digital, I wrote software patterns, code generators, and messaging systems for the enterprise. Currently, I am the lead programmer for the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine.

I have a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in clinical psychology with an applied research specialization.

I blog about technology, programming, and cybercultural at

Speaking & Presentations

Speaking Engagements

edUi Conference 2017. "Building Progressive Web Apps." September 26th, 2017.
Summary: "Mobile devices have created a walled garden of mobile apps that have forced teams to maintain multiple projects to build for each device or to rely on wrappers and compilers to get the native experience. With Progressive web apps (PWA), developers can take advantage of HTML5 and the new HTML5 JavaScript APIs to put together power mobile web applications that can do everything a native app can do, without using Ionic, Cordova, or some other third-party compiler."
edUi Conference 2017. "Building Bots for the Conversation UI." September 25th, 2017.
Summary: "Facebook Messenger, Skype, Slack, WhatsApp: messaging has become the heart and soul of the mobile device, and both Microsoft and Facebook have stressed the emergence of the conversation space as the next big frontier for the Internet. With the progress on artificial intelligence services, this means the growth of bots. But what exactly is a bot, and how can it help you? This session will walk you through the bot basics and show you how easy it is to build a bot using the Microsoft Bot Framework. From start to finish, you’ll hear about the pieces you need to build a bot and launch it for various communication services."
edUi Conference 2016. "The New JavaScript and How it Will Change the Way You Design and Develop." October 24th, 2016.
Summary: "Learn how the University of Virginia School of Medicine has used JavaScript tooling and transpilers to completely rebuild the educational testing software for medical students. JavaScript has been dominant in recent years because of how well it works in mobile and responsive environments, but it has always lacked in two areas: tooling and browser compatibility. Whereas jQuery made JavaScript and client-side programming accessible to designers and content managers, new tooling such as Grunt, Gulp, Brunch, Bower, Yeoman, etc. have allowed DevOps to move to the frontend, while transpilers such as Babel, Traceur, TypeScript, Less, and Sass have created supersets of the web-based languages frontend developers use on a daily basis in order to produce efficient, scalable, powerful, and cross-browser compatible web applications."
LSP Fall Conference 2015. "Tooling and Process Improvement with Grunt, Boxstarter, and Git." November 19th, 2015.
Summary: "Learn how to improve processes in development, DevOps, and desktop setup through automation. Use Grunt to automate build processes in development, use Boxstarter to automate desktop environment installations with PowerShell, and use Git for version control and application deployment to improve DevOps. Sample application and scripts will be demonstrated and available on GitHub for download."
JAM Orlando 2010. "jQuery and JICS." June 4th, 2010.
Summary: "Peirce College will share our experiences customizing and developing in JICS version 7. This session will review examples of how to implement one of the most widely used JavaScript libraries, jQuery, in the JICS environment. We will review a range of popular options for adding jQuery interactivity to your JICS site."
New York Times Travel Show. "Web Marketing Workshop." February 6th, 2009.
Summary: "Learn to leverage the Internet to increase your business by developing a successful web presence and utilizing search engine optimization, search marketing and social media web sites to generate leads."
New York Times Travel Show. "Delivering the 1-2 Punch." February 6th, 2009.
Summary: "Learn how new technologies like Tripology and Travel Tribe help agents get leads, while Triton helps agents close the sale through competitive pricing."


Contreras, C. L.M. & Szul, M. (2016). Exploring the importance of first access delay. Presentation at the 2016 Capella University Faculty Virtual Conference, Navigating Online Learning Challenges: Collaborating for Innovation.

Szul, M., & Contreras, C. L.M. (2013). Learning management systems, design, and grade performance. Poster presented at Association for Psychological Science Annual Conference, Washington, DC.

Szul, M. (2012). Steiner, consciousness and the physicality of spiritual experience. Poster presented at America Psychological Association Annual Convention, Orlando, FL.

Contreras, C. L., Szul., M., Donley, D., & Thomas, S. M. (2012). Grade predictors in online learning: Exploring the importance of first access delay. Poster presented at Virginia Association for Behavior Analysis, Harrisonburg, VA.

Szul, M. (2011). Rudolf Steiner and the evolution of consciousness. Poster presented at Psychology and the Other, Cambridge, MA.


Journal Articles

Szul, M. (2011). Balancing college coursework with a job. Undergraduate Update. Retrieved from

Technical Reviewer

Hayward, J. (2011). Django JavaScript integration: AJAX and jQuery. Birmingham, UK: Packt Publishing.


Cyberpsychology/Human-Computer Interaction

June 2011 - August 2013

Reviewed, summarized, and wrote literature and data related to online learning, learning management systems (LMS), computer literacy, personality types, and grade performance. Performed statistical analysis on data sets, and worked with computer literacy and personality measures.

Psychological Testing

Qualified to administer, score, and interpret the following psychological tests at this time.

  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
  • Beck Depression Inventory
  • 16PF
  • Career Assessment Inventory
  • SASSI-3


Imagine Your Reality, December 2009.

When I first moved to VA, I started working as a partner at Barbella Digital, Inc., but was first contracting with them on a 1099 basis. I used the Overmortal brand as the subcontracting name. The contents of this interview are about past work, as well as work under BDI.

Nights with Alice Cooper. October 2004.

My very early years on the Internet were spent making posts about the paranormal before the term "blog" was even coined. The web site ( had a more personal narrative that was partly inspired by the television show Freakylinks.

In the Summer of 2004, I received an email from one of the people at Nights with Alice Cooper asking me to do an interview. A copy of the interview can be found on