Computer Science

Your curriculum will be lab based, and virtually all your courses will be a research experience. You will find a department that keeps up with the evolution of computer science yet provides a foundation in its underlying principles: mathematics, logic and language.

Stuart Hirshfield and Nick Brewer '14
Nick Brewer ’14, right, with Stuart Hirshfield, the Stephen Harper Kirner Chair of Computer Science.

A student’s formula: computer science, music and art

Nick Brewer ’14, a computer science major who minors in music and art, anticipates a future that incorporates his multiple passions.

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After his junior year, he joined a cross-disciplinary team that won a summer grant to study people’s ability to determine when a person is lying and when a person is telling the truth. Brewer used machine learning software to help analyze research data. He also experienced teamwork, gained exposure to psychology and neuroscience, and got a chance to apply what he'd been studying in his courses.

Post Hamilton, Brewer wants to be part of the technology industry.

“Right now I’m looking into the video games industry, among other things, which is a natural combination of music, art and computer science. I think it’s a really progressive art form, and although it can be used for mindless entertainment, I think deep and thought-provoking expression comes from it as well,”  he says.

Down the road, Brewer hopes to combine his passions in his occupation.

"Whatever I do, I need to keep the arts in my life in some way," he says.

Amelia Mattern '12 and the English class she worked with during her Fulbright teaching assistantship in Vietnam.

A graduate’s progress: A Fulbright and a master’s

In high school, when her big brother told her she would love computer science, Amelia Mattern ’12 refused to believe him. Still, at Hamilton College she heeded her friends when they extolled their intro computer science course. She signed up. “Well, after about one week I was hooked. We would have weekly lab assignments that I would go home and code up in one afternoon, completely ignoring my other assignments because I was so addicted,” Mattern says.

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She’d planned to major in math and French but scrapped that idea to double-major in math and computer science, swayed in part by the quality of the instruction.

In her senior year Mattern won a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship and spent a year after she graduated working in Vietnam, then enrolled in a master’s program in math at the University of Vermont. She’s figuring out whether she wants to be a math professor and says Hamilton prepared her well for her graduate studies and what lies ahead.

‘I would argue that training my mind to think like a programmer has often helped me solve a difficult proof or find a new way of explaining a difficult concept to another student,” she says.