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Senior Attributes Position to Professorial Support

03/23/16

Austin Hannaleck ’16 of Adams, Mass., won’t graduate for another two months, but his first job as a software engineer at General Dynamics Mission Systems in nearby Pittsfield is waiting for him. The full-time job offer came as a result of the summer internship he served at the company last year. 

According to Hannaleck, MCLA best prepared him for success as a software engineer by providing a well-rounded curriculum which allows for a wide exploration of all facets of the field.

The computer science program covers a lot of territory. The breadth of the major is massive, so you don’t get too deep into any one subject,” he explained. “You will find your specialty, and when you do, you will be encouraged to dig deeper.”

Hannaleck loves the process he undertakes when writing computer code.

“Your computer has no idea what to do until you write its instructions. It’s incredibly gratifying to start with a blank slate and come out with a fully functional project,” he said.

The most challenging part of his field is staying up-to-date with the latest technological developments. “Computer science is constantly evolving, and trying to keep up with all the new advances can be daunting,” Hannaleck said. 

Although the program is relatively challenging, MCLA’s faculty are more than eager to help, he continued. “There is a mutual understanding between the students and professors that some of the concepts aren’t so easy to grasp, so it never feels like a hassle to ask a professor for help.”

It was Hannaleck’s membership in the campus’s Computer Society organization that introduced him to General Dynamics, the world’s fifth largest defense contractor.

“The summer internship was great because I got to apply everything I’ve learned to a real world situation,” he said. “Plus, I was getting paid to do what I love. It doesn’t get much better than that! It really made me appreciate everything I’ve learned at MCLA.”

Hannaleck recommends MCLA to prospective students. In addition to small class sizes that provide opportunities for one-on-one attention from professors, “The staff are some of the funniest, down-to-earth people I have ever met,” he said. “If computer science is something you’re interested in, you won’t be disappointed.”                    

Eventually, Hannaleck would like to become a web application developer. “I enjoy programming, but I also love the visual aspect of creating a web app, and there is something very satisfying about having your work on the Internet for everyone to enjoy,” he said.

However, his dream job is to one day work for Google: “I’ve always had a fascination with their technology, and I would love to be a part of their team.”

Hannaleck advises students to get to know their professors.

“They inspired and pushed me to be the best I could be,” he explained. “I honestly believe I wouldn’t have the job I have now without their support, which is really the end goal of college, is it not?

“And, not only are they excellent resources, but they are also great friends. I have found many common interests outside of computer science with my professors, and I’m very grateful to have the relationship I have with them.”