My name is Nathan McClain and I am a freshman at Kansas State University. I am pursuing a double major in computer science and physics with a double minor in leadership studies and mathematics. I am from Overland Park, Kansas, and have lived there my entire life until moving into college. As a child, I grew up in a K-State household; my dad and sister both graduated from KSU. This family aspect, the sense of family at K-State, and the great academic departments all are reasons why I am here now. I am interested in computer science because it is an ever-expanding field with infinite possibilities of the programs, games, and softwares developed. In my free time, I enjoy playing video games on my PC, running, and solving Rubik’s Cubes. As well, I enjoy tinkering with technology and figuring out how/why things work. As previously stated, my dad and sister both graduated from Kansas State, however, my mom and other sister did not. My mother graduated from Baker University and my other sister is currently a junior in mechanical engineering at Wichita State University. My oldest sister and mom are both high school teachers while my dad is a chief financial officer.
This past summer, I worked as an intern at Kiewit Engineering and Design in the engineering and design technology (EDT) group. During my time at my internship, I worked with many different professionals on tasks and projects. This exposure in different aspects of the corporate world have better prepared me for life after college. I would like to return next summer and work in the same department. Last summer, I was not able to do much of the coding because I did not know VBA, but they are switching over to now use more Java, which after this year, I will know fairly fluently. This will allow me to get feet wet with coding for a big corporation. Hopefully, this will give me helpful insight as to exactly what I want to do after getting my degree. However, I would also like to be able to find a job that combines my physics degree with computer science. I do not know what that may be, but I am keeping an open mind to different opportunities.
In regards to the book, The Pattern on the Stone, by W. Daniel Hillis, I am most excited about Chapter 3, which will be about programming. I am most looking forward to this chapter in the book because I really enjoy computer programming, which is most of the reason why I want to pursue a degree in computer science. As well, after flipping through the chapter and looking at the figures, such as the one on page 45 with the turtle drawing the squares, I am more excited to see what the book has to say about one of the fundamental parts of computer science. In addition to Chapter 3, I am really looking forward to the chapter titled “Speed: Parallel Computers.” This concept sounds simple, but I’m sure is much more complex in practice. The idea of multiple computers running at the same time to produce the same outcome is fascinating. The internet in its entirety is such an interesting concept that people don’t understand. This appeals to me because I seek to find out the how and why answers as opposed to just the what. When a new technology is announced and articles are written about it, I usually read into the new development and what makes it better. In addition, whenever a teacher or friend shares an article about technology with me, I will usually read it as well. Usually, this includes going to CNET.com or other similar websites.
One of the many draws to computer science is the fact that not many people know about programming, how a computer works, or how the internet functions. This intrigues me and makes me want to learn more. For something that people take for granted and use every day, it is such a complex process for your computer to function. Seymour Clay said it best when he said “The trouble with programmers is that you can never tell what a programmer is doing until it’s too late” (http://www.devtopics.com/101-great-computer-programming-quotes/). I am drawn to computer science for many reasons. As I stated previously, I do not know what career path I want to pursue within my majors, but I know that computer programming will be something I am always interested in learning and using. After being involved in the computer science department for only a few short weeks, I can already tell how much more expansive my knowledge will be. One part that I find most enjoyable is the humor that computer scientists can have. For example, the name of the other one of our textbooks: Tubes The Journey to the Center of the Internet is an allusion to politicians who believed the internet was simply a bunch of tubes connecting everywhere underground. Since computer science is a relatively small field, only a small handful of people understand the humor in this title as well as jokes about computer programming. This, along with many other aspects of the major, are why I chose to study computer science at K-State.
By Following the Steps. “DevTopics.” RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Sept. 2016.
Blum, Andrew. Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet. New York: Ecco, 2012. Print.
Hillis, W. Daniel. The Pattern on the Stone: The Simple Ideas That Make Computers Work. New York: Basic, 1998. Print.