Mauricio Molina '15

As a kid, I was always fascinated by computers, but I never had the opportunity to explore computer science before college.  I took my first introductory course at the start of my freshman year, and I was instantly amazed by how powerful and exciting the material was, by the ways that it could have an impact on the world. I learned to see the material not only as what I needed to know to finish homework assignments, but also as the tools with which I would be able to solve real world problems and help people.

I didn’t know what a programming language was, or why one needed them in working with computers, before coming to Pomona. And yet even with this limited prior experience, the computer science department supported me and pushed me in ways that have made me learn more, and become more curious, than I could have ever imagined.

Computer science has been my biggest challenge and my biggest reward. The reason I chose computer science as my major is that it has made me want to learn more, both within the field and in as many classes outside of CS as possible. Studying computer science has taught me that I can do awesome things and that the potential for what we as students can accomplish in this field is limitless.

Shannon Lubetich '15

In high school, I took two years of computer science. Though I greatly enjoyed the classes, it didn’t feel like the thing I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  I didn’t have the urge to work or read up on computer science in my free time. So, when I came to college, it was with the idea that I probably wouldn’t major in computer science.

Second semester of my first year, I took a Physics course that involved programming an arduino, and realized how much I missed programming. Then, sophomore year, I tested out of the intro CS course and took 52, Fundamentals of Computer Science. I absolutely loved it. Even when I stayed up till 3 am finishing an assignment or holed up in Edmunds all day to study for an exam, I loved it. I also went to Halona (Pomona’s cabin in the words) for a weekend retreat with the CS department, barely knowing anyone, and had a great time. The people were incredibly welcoming, and brilliant, and fun to be around. So I asked myself, “Why isn’t this my major?” and then declared it as my major.

Since then, I’ve enjoyed my CS classes, even the required ones, and the people I’ve met in them. Our department is a great community, with approachable professors, engaging classes, and awesome students. I’ve been a liaison for the department the past two years, and have really enjoyed seeing it grow, and seeing where people end up. We have diverse interests, whether it be running the Hackathon, NLP research, building apps, or network security. Everyone has different areas of knowledge, and experience interning and researching at different places. We come together to be a really interesting and fun department.

Jennifer Nguyen '17

I took my first computer science course my freshman year at Pomona. Up until then, my idea of programming came from movies that involved hackers taking down evil corporations. While "Introduction to Computer Science" wasn't quite the hacker-esque experience my inner child would have reveled in, it was still awesome. I learned the fundamentals of programming through writing fun games and found that I really enjoyed learning about and writing code.

Then, in my sophomore year, I was given the opportunity to go to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. It was a phenomenal experience. I listened to women from across many different backgrounds share their stories about their struggles and triumphs, saw new and impactful technology, and met interesting people. The environment was so supporting and inspiring. When I returned to campus, I declared as a computer science major.

It's been a fun ride since then. There have been many late nights spent fixing bugs and cramming for exams, but the bonds I’ve made from shared bugs and sleep-deprived jokes, and the realization of how much I have progressed from that first day of class, have made the experience well worth it.