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Michael Szul

Builder of minds. Writes code that writes code.

I have spent two decades in software engineering in industries as diverse as insurance, energy, travel, and higher education, including consulting with companies such as AIG and Conde Naste. I have worked in both application and product development, as well as framework creation, code generation, API building, and machine learning. Currently, I am the manager of undergraduate medical education applications for the University of Virginia's School of Medicine.

I am the co-host of the Codepunk podcast with Bill Ahern--a podcast about programming, technology, and the digital lifestyle, which has encompassed such topics as data visualization, artificial intelligence, JavaScript/TypeScript, and .NET programming. In addition, I record programming tutorials on YouTube with the first series about building chatbots with Microsoft's Bot Framework and natural language processing tools. I also edit an email newsletter called Bots + Beer.

In October of 2017, I became a Microsoft MVP for Developer Technologies, and in 2019, Microsoft added me to the AI MVP list as well.

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 Codepunk.

Career Highlights

University of Virginia, School of Medicine
Engineered a code generation system and open source front-end framework to create uniformity, stability, and high maintainability across business lines, applications, and employee proficiencies, ensuring uptime, while reducing bugs, context switching, and technical debt.
Architected and led the design and implementation of a next generation medical education learning platform, reducing user experience issues, while increasing process improvement for students, faculty, and staff.
Barbella Digital, Inc.
Established the standards, policies, and practices related to information architecture for higher education, reducing the friction for clients who integrate with multiple services, diverse team, and disparate platforms.
Created an integrated messaging system for low to critical status alerts across multiple domains and departments, deliverying a high volume of important data to multiple platforms.
Performance Media
Helped transform and guide the travel media company into the digital media arena, reducing their investment in external consulting and service providers by increasing their return on software and hardware infrastructure.
Pioneered their social and mobile initiatives in the early stages of the company's smartphone and social media growth.


Building Chatbots in TypeScript with the Microsoft Bot Framework: Programming Useful Bots in the Node.JS SDK. (2019). The October Foundation.

Speaking & Presentations

Speaking Engagements
ValleyTechCon. "Conversational Software and What it Means for the User Interface." September 25th, 2019.
Shenandoah Valley Technology Council Luncheon. "Building Useful Conversational Software." September 12th, 2019.
Northern VA CodeCamp. "I Don't Hate JavaScript Anymore." May 18th, 2019.
Nation JS. "I Don't Hate JavaScript Anymore." May 10th, 2019.
RVA JavaScript. "Build Chatbots People Actually Want to Use." November 2nd, 2018.
edUi Conference. "WebAssembly: The Future of Front-End is Whatever You Want it to Be." October 10th, 2018.
SyntaxCon. "Building Effective Conversational Apps with Bot Framework and LUIS." June 7th, 2018.
Medbiquitous. "Beyond Mobile: Effective Conversational Apps for Students." May 21st, 2018.
Medbiquitous. "Content Categorization with MeSH Terms using Artificial Intelligence." May 21st, 2018.
Northern VA CodeCamp. "Building Bots with TypeScript and Azure Bot Service." May 12th, 2018.
Azure Global Bootcamp. "Getting Started with Azure Bot Service." April 21st, 2018.
Applied Machine Learning Conference. "Medical Education Content Categorization with MeSH Terms." April 12th, 2018.
Microsoft MVP Philadelphia Community Connection. "How Cool? Lightning Talks. Hacking Diversity." November 4th, 2017.
edUi Conference. "Building Progressive Web Apps." September 26th, 2017.
edUi Conference. "Building Bots for the Conversation UI." September 25th, 2017.
edUi Conference. "The New JavaScript and How it Will Change the Way You Design and Develop." October 24th, 2016.
LSP Fall Conference. "Tooling and Process Improvement with Grunt, Boxstarter, and Git." November 19th, 2015.
JAM Orlando. "jQuery and JICS." June 4th, 2010.
New York Times Travel Show. "Web Presence and Social Media Workshop." February 6th, 2009.
New York Times Travel Show. "New Technology Panel." February 6th, 2009.
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.
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.


Podcast Appearances
Real Talk JavaScript - Episode 23: JavaScript and Bots for Improving User Experiences
Tech Talk with Rishi #11 - Chatbots & LUIS
Developer on Fire - Episode 408
MS Dev Show - Bots Experience
6 Figure Developer- Bot Framework
Article Mentions
Building the Future of Medical Education Technology with Michael Szul, University of Virginia School of Medicine
VMED Update: Saving Time With Honor
BotBuilder Community is making it easier to build great bots!
6 Awesome Projects We Discovered At Community Connection Events Worldwide
VMED: Making Teaching and Learning Simpler
Microsoft Needs to Open-Source Something Big. But What?

Undergraduate/Graduate Research

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.