August 29, 2013
From: St. Paul, Minnesota
Exploring: International affairs and computer science
First impressions: After my first international affairs class, my professor encouraged me to declare it as my major. After my first class in Internet security, my professor invited me to do research with him. I don’t think you get that kind of interaction at a lot of other schools, and it made a monumental difference in my life. I came in not really knowing what I wanted to do, and I found out and went for it. I’m really happy with what I’ve done here.
Collaborative experiences: I spent last summer doing research with Professor Jens Mache. We created tools to help computer science students learn about denial of service attacks and how to prevent them. Collaborating with Jens was the perfect fusion—we got to do the work ourselves, but with the backup of someone with real experience. We presented original research, developed teaching tools that may be used in classrooms some day, and got a paper published. That’s a step above anything most undergraduates ever experience.
Solving problems: In computer science, there are often a lot of different ways to solve a problem. The same is true in international affairs—there can be countless explanations for why things happen. In both departments, I’ve learned to approach problems from as many sides as possible. That’s probably the aspect of my education that I value most.