Ryan Heffelman ?27

Ryan Eugene Heffelman

Class Year



Olympia, WA


Computer Science, Data Science



Ryan Heffelman ’27 is a double major in computer science and data science with a minor in mathematics. He was inspired to pursue this career path by his step dad, who is a software engineer. Through Carthage, Ryan is able to conduct research through the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program, exploring inverse problems through data manipulation, image processing, and machine learning.

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“Carthage has small class sizes and unique organizations that allow me to work closely with my professors and peers, overall providing an excellent learning environment.”

Ryan Eugene Heffelman, ’27

Why Carthage?

“I came from a non-traditional educational background, a Sudbury model school, where I didn’t have a traditional GPA or transcript. A lot of colleges turned me away because of this, but Carthage gave me the opportunity to pursue my education. Carthage also has a beautiful campus.”

Faculty mentors

The Carthage faculty have helped me foster passion for what I study. Having a personal relationship with my professors makes me care more about assignments that I submit and the work I create. The faculty have written me personal recommendation letters, helping me get internships and into research programs. Professors Mark Mahoney and Erlan Wheeler are serving as my faculty advisors, helping me navigate through course selection with both my majors, preventing me from making mistakes I otherwise would have, and tailoring my education to my own specific goals.”

Favorite class

Data Structures and Algorithms was my favorite course. The projects were really cool. I learned a ton, more than I did in any other class. It was very intellectually stimulating. By the end of the semester, I had a folder full of awesome programs that I was genuinely proud of and continue to use parts of to this day. This is where computer science really opened up for me and I finally felt like a competent programmer, able to build whatever I put my mind to.”

Campus involvement

“I’m the President of the Carthage Philosophy Club. We facilitate public weekly meetings where we talk about a broad variety of philosophical subjects such as sociology, war, religion, psychology, etc. As president of the club, I’m responsible for a lot of the administrative work involving the club, such as reserving rooms, sending out emails, managing finances, etc.”

Internships or campus employment

“I work at Carthage Media Services. It isn’t directly related to either of my majors, but I’ve learned a lot about troubleshooting tech hardware and improving my problem-solving skills, both of which are valuable skills to learn for my majors.”

Favorite spot on campus

“The Hedberg Library is my favorite spot. It’s a nice central location. My job is located there, and I have a secret study spot in the library. Plus, Starbucks is there. I love the environment.”

Favorite memory

“My favorite memories include winning the last prize in bingo after losing terribly all night and new student orientation. Additionally, another memory that I love was after pulling an all-nighter to study for finals. I was walking back to my dorm at 5 a.m., then I got distracted and sat alone for 30 minutes admiring the beautiful sunrise over the lake. It was so peaceful and serene.”

Best tip for making friends

“Participate in class, get to class early, reach out to people in your class if you need clarification on an assignment, and attend clubs.”

Biggest surprise

“Coming from a non-traditional educational background, there were a lot of doubts about my ability to succeed in a college environment, but all of those doubts are now gone. College hasn’t been too difficult, even as a STEM double major, I just have to put in the effort to succeed.”