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Computer Science

Alumni

  • Amanda Rico ’18

Amanda Rico ’18

Class Year

’18

Major(s)

Computer Science

Current home

Roseville, Minn.

Current position

Software Engineer at Ivanti

Amanda Rico graduated from Carthage in 2018 with a degree in computer science. She works as a software engineer at Ivanti in Minnesota, where she writes and reviews code, and discusses implementations of features with other engineers. 

Ms. Rico received Carthage’s Highest Honors Merit Scholarship, a yearly scholarship given to Carthage students with 3.50-4.0 GPAs. 

While at Carthage, she conducted robotics research as part of Carnegie Mellon University’s Research Experience for Undergraduates in Software Engineering program (REU-SE). The REU-SE program is an opportunity for undergraduates to work with some of the leading software engineering faculty researchers at Carnegie Mellon, the #1-ranked computer science school in the country. 

What have you enjoyed most about your career?

“Ivanti is a cybersecurity company working in the domain of patching machines. Since I’m a back-end engineer, my code drives the actual patching. Doing back-end work is something that I really enjoy. It’s really cool to be working on the guts of an application and seeing how everything fits together on the inside.

“Since this is cybersecurity, the work I’m doing makes me feel like I have an important job to do. It’s also crucial that I do the very best I can because if I mess up, someone else using the application suffers. I really like feeling useful and the job is like a different puzzle every day.”

How did Carthage prepare you?

“The support I received from my professors was really helpful. Funny enough, I ask for more help in my career than I did in school, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable asking for help if my professors hadn’t been so adamant that their doors were always open to ask a question.

Professor Erlan Wheeler wrote me a killer recommendation letter, which helped me get into the summer research program, REU-SE, at Carnegie-Mellon University, one of the top computer science schools in the country. That REU is definitely a bright spot on my resume.

“All of my professors were very encouraging and want to see their students succeed. Of course, you have to work for that success, but having to work really hard for success prepared me for the real world.”

How has your liberal arts education benefitted you?

“I learned to attack problems from multiple angles, which is great because if I can’t actually implement an idea I had for fixing a bug, my brain will immediately come up with another angle from which to attack the problem.

“More often than not, I put fixes in the correct spots before code review because I can think fully of how it would affect the overall system if I put them anywhere else.”

Tips for current Carthage students:

“Start early, work steady, ask for help. The professors really want to see you succeed, especially if you end up writing airplane software.

“Get your resume together and apply for internships and research opportunities as soon as you can. One of the engineers at my job interview immediately recognized REU-SE on my resume because it was at a top computer science school. Do things that make your resume stand out from the others. Apply for that Google internship. Apply for that Carnegie Mellon REU-SE. You just might get it!

“Listen to [computer science] Professor Perry Kivolowitz. He gives advice on how to stack the odds in your favor. Go to his BBQs. It’s a great time to socialize and work on homework. I’m still in touch with a lot of people in my major because he encouraged us to start a group chat.

“Branch out beyond computer science for friends. Join clubs that you’re interested in. Join a fraternity or sorority. It’s good to have friends who are from other fields and majors.”

Favorite Carthage memories:

“Becoming an active member of my sorority. Finishing my thesis presentation. Eating at Red Robin’s and having a ton of appetizers after thesis presentations. Partying with the other computer science students after we were done with thesis. Working on grad caps with my non-comp sci friends. Late nights with my friends from Cosplay Club. Sitting in my car with my theatre major friend eagerly gossiping and talking about boys. Declaring computer science as a major after a year of being undecided. Those are just a few!

“I went to Carthage because it was far from home, and thought it would help me grow. I like to think it worked! I picked a major I had little knowledge in. I made some really great friends. I’m better at decision-making because I was on E-board for my sorority and Cosplay Club, so I had to get good at making decisions and following through with things. I went to Pittsburgh for a summer and got a taste of grad school through my REU. I’m definitely a more grown-up person than the nervous eighteen-year-old who showed up on campus slightly reluctant about college.”

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Computer science students watch Prof. Mark Mahoney’s recorded lecturers in their free time, so he can nearby “when they do their real learning,” he says. He has company: Physics professor Brant Carlson’s quantum mechanics video playlist has been viewed more than 170,000 times. 

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $25,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …

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