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Senior Poised for Computer Science Career

03/02/16 

In her final semester as a computer science major, Kristen Nadeau ’16 of Pittsfield, Mass., is ready to finish the goal she made eight years ago as a high school freshman, when she charted out her course for an education in information technology.

With a concentration on software development, a couple of internships under her belt and her degree close at hand, she’s on the cusp of a promising career.

Last summer, Nadeau served an internship with Drive Dominion in Pittsfield, which provides a variety of services to car dealerships. The experience turned into a part-time job last fall.

In addition to becoming skilled in a new programming language, she learned about important processes that take place at software development companies, such as being part of a team and how to manage tasks.

The year before, Nadeau participated in a remote internship with GreenWave, for which she and other student-interns simplified the process of applying for the Joint Programmatic General Permit for Aquaculture in the state of Connecticut.

She attributes her success in the field thus far to her professors, whom she says have challenged her academically as they’ve taught her to think independently.

“They’ve inspired me with how enthusiastic they are when they teach, how dedicated they are to the students, and have personally provided me with opportunities to grow,” Nadeau said. “The computer science classes are rewarding because, even with the lower level classes, they’re visual.”

The higher level classes, however, are when the fun really begins, according to Nadeau.

“In Java 3, I programmed a SpongeBob shooter game responsive to the keyboard with moving graphics and sound effects,” she explained. “In Java 4, I programmed a graphical blackjack game, and in a group with three other students I programmed a multi-player graphical poker game.

“The most recent project I finished for ‘N-Tiered Software Development’ was my favorite so far. It’s a calendar web application, where the members can sign in and once inside can add/update/delete events from a calendar. They’re able to view the other members’ events, but are not able to update or delete them,” she added.

For her Senior Project, Nadeau is working to develop a web application that allows users to look up directions between two points and review the weather they should expect to encounter on the journey. “So, if you’re traveling from Maine to Massachusetts, you will know if you’re heading into a storm,” she explained.

“The most challenging part of computer science is how often and fast everything changes,” she added. “One second a certain programming language or technique may be popular and, in the blink of an eye, it could all change or head in a new direction.”

Nadeau decided to attend MCLA because it is an affordable, four-year school within an easy driving distance from her family’s home in Pittsfield, which allows her to commute to class.

She recommends MCLA – especially the computer science program.

“The professors are enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and the classrooms are brand-new,” Nadeau said. “During the four years that I’ve attended MCLA, they’ve built the Science Center and renovated Hoosac Hall and Bowman Hall, where computer science classes now are held. That’s impressive to accomplish in four years. Going to a college that is constantly growing and improving is definitely a benefit.”