Loyola University Maryland student David Christo, ’14, is the first-place winner of a spring 2011 Computer Science Degree Scholarship from BrainTrack, a higher education and career website.
Christo, who is pursuing a B.S. in Computer Science, took home the $1000 prize for an essay he wrote that offers guidance and insight for prospective computer science students who have questions about selecting a school, preparing for college, and study habits. BrainTrack publishes a selection of the best essay entries, including Christo’s, but only awards a first and second place scholarship each semester.
“[The] Computer Science Scholarship program provides those considering computer science and information technology careers with helpful perspectives and experiences of real students," said David Siegel, vice president of operations with BrainTrack's publisher, Futuremeld, LLC.
Christo’s essay stood out because he emphasized the important difference between computer science programs based in theory and programs that focus on real-world applications. Theory-centric programs, writes Christo, are great options for students who plan to continue on to graduate school. However, students looking for a job right out of school should choose a program rooted in practical applications.
The rising sophomore’s wisdom about building experience also resonated with BrainTrack. In high school Christo volunteered as a technology assistant for his school and a few teachers, worked as an instructor and simulations programmer at Space Camp, and learned UNIX during a paid internship at a value-added reseller.
“My best advice to others is to find opportunities to work with computers wherever you can. Be prepared to try and fail, then try again,” writes Christo. “Those experiences also made choosing my course of study in college easy, because I already knew what to expect and over that time I came to love the intellectual challenges computing could offer me.”
Christo, a Glenn Dale, Md. native, is keeping his options open for the future. He wants to stay in school until he earns an M.S. and a Ph.D. in computer science and artificial intelligence, but he also hopes to be “immediately employable” after he receives his undergraduate degree.
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