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Computer Science

Student Voices

  • Jordan Ball '23

Jordan Ball ’23

Hometown

Twin Lakes, Wisconsin

Major(s)

Computer Science

Minor(s)

Mathematics

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot is The Tower terrace. I do all of my homework there. The view of the lake is stunning and even more so during the sunset. It’s always nice to hang out there with some friends and study together.”

Career goal

“After Carthage, I am hoping to get a job as a software developer and eventually go to graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science. My dream job would be to work at NASA and design software used in the future of space travel.”

Favorite professor

Professor Sara Jensen was the primary reason I added a math minor. She made me realize that it is actually possible to have fun with math and that learning it allows us to view things in a whole new light.

Professor Perry Kivolowitz made me realize that studying computer science could lead me to places I never dreamed of. Working in the field of computer science led him to create a revolutionary software for visual effects that earned him not only an Academy Award, but also an Emmy Award.

“Laurie Roberts, Western Heritage professor, taught me to notice the little things in people. One of our recurring assignments in my acting class was to find a random person in the world and take notes about what we noticed about them, then make some inferences about who they were beyond their outfit. Prof. Roberts made me realize that even the smallest details about a person would play a major role in who they really were.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class has been Principles of Computer Science I. While teaching us the various concepts in the course, Prof. Kivolowitz would make random references that not many people understood, so he would end up having to explain them or play a video explaining it — this allowed me to learn more about a subject I enjoy in an interactive and interesting format.”

Toughest class

“The toughest class for me, so far, has been my Calculus II class. It was at 8 a.m. every day of the week except for Thursdays. Doing calculus that early in the morning was mentally straining for me. The only saving grace for the class was how energetic, fun, and motivating Prof. Jensen was. She made the class fun and worthwhile.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“My most notable opportunity was joining Carthage’s RockSat team. This team is tasked with designing and building a payload that is to be flown on-board a rocket in order to experience several minutes of zero-gravity. My job was to design and program the on-board temperature sensor and accelerometer to save their specific data during the flight. Working with this amazing team has been an excellent experience for me, and I hope to continue working with them in the future.”

Scholarships

“Of all the scholarships I was awarded, receiving the Carthage Academic Honors Scholarship meant the most to me. This reaffirmed that the hard work I did in high school was not a waste of time and that it helped prepare me for my first year at Carthage and beyond.”

Campus involvement

“My extracurricular involvement includes being the technical director for Carthage WAVE (our radio station), a member of the Carthage Activities Board (CAB), a member of the President’s Ball committee, and a member of the Computer Science Club. I am also considering participating in Greek Life at some point in my Carthage career.”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“My favorite Carthage moment has been going to the Christmas Festival. Not hearing much about it beforehand, I was expecting it to be similar to the concerts my high school held. I was very much mistaken. The concert was absolutely amazing. Every moment was breathtaking. The choirs and bands put on such an outstanding performance that I will definitely be back next year.”

Biggest surprise so far?

“During high school, most of the people I talked to said that college consisted of constant homework and studying and that I would rarely find time to have fun. Once I moved in and started to experience real college life, I learned that this was a big lie. While I do have homework, I still have plenty of time to have fun and do stuff that is not relating to college.”

What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?

“Thinking back, my 8-year-old self would be initially confused at my current career path but would eventually understand. When I was 8 years old, I wanted to be a professional stuntman in Hollywood. After realizing that that would require me to get over my fear of heights, I decided that computer science was perfect for me because I really it.”

Advice for other students considering your major

“My best advice for those considering computer science as a major is that it is not easy. I have met people in the past who have told me how simple it is to learn a programming language, but they have never actually done it. While a big part of computer science is learning the various coding languages, the most important part is problem-solving. If you don’t figure out how to solve a certain problem, you won’t be able to code the program. Also, it requires a lot of time outside of class. For each of the projects assigned this semester, I put in a lot of time working on them right when we were assigned them. I would then either get the project done right away or get stuck on a certain problem. This would require me to put in even more time figuring out how to solve it. Doing the project the night it is due will not work because computers don’t like to cooperate.”

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2020), 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 Career Services.

    • 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 archaeology 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 $20,000 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 the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, 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 No. 3 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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