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Conscientious Coding


Over the last two years, Minh To ’19 has taken advantage of the opportunities offered by Hamilton to further her passion for computer science. With an emphasis on  problem-solving processes, the courses To has taken have allowed her to understand theoretical concepts on a deeper level. This summer, To is building upon her base of computational knowledge by attending a 12-week, intensive, full-stack (working on both the front-end and back-end portions of an application) web and mobile application development program at Horizons School of Technology in San Francisco. Her participation was made possible by Dan Fielding '07.

“I decided to pursue this opportunity to surround myself in an active and productive environment over the summer to continue the learning and momentum that I gained and maintain at Hamilton,” To said. Horizons offers a variety of immersive summer tech programs, designed to challenge students in an intense learning environment and expose them to a mélange of possible career paths. “I was fascinated by the program because I wanted to explore ways to transfer theoretical knowledge to build interactive apps or websites,” she said.

About Minh To ’19

Major: Computer Science

Hometown: Hanoi, Vietnam

High School: Westover School (Middlebury, Conn.)

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For the first six weeks of the program, the group is trained to build website, mobile and desktop apps in a comprehensive full-stack JavaScript curriculum. During the training program, To attended a three-hour lecture in the morning, followed by pair programming exercises in the afternoon and at night. “During these exercises, I got to examine my understanding of new concepts and learn their applications,” she said.

Currently, To is transitioning into the second phase of the program, during which she will work on more extensive projects that will allow her to cultivate a better understanding of machine learning. She will also build more full-fledged websites in a group with three other students.

In addition to learning technical skills, through Horizons, To has been introduced to new technologies by going to different networking events and workshops hosted by Google Launchpad or Y Combinator. “I hope to use this knowledge and the power of technology to direct my future projects toward making a social impact, whether at Hamilton College or my community in Vietnam,” she said.

By the end of the summer, To hopes to combine her technical coding skills with the soft skills she has gathered from interacting with the Horizons community to be a more conscientious developer. “I want to be able to build apps that will contribute a greater and more meaningful social impact, such as empowering women in technology, bringing individuals/groups together, and providing access and equity to marginalized communities,” said To.

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