Roger Danilek '21
Roger Danilek ’21 arrived on the Hill knowing he wanted to pursue either engineering or physics. Then, he took a computer science class and that changed everything.

The incoming Red Hat associate consultant will be based in Chicago. But when the COVID-19 pandemic ends, Danilek will travel around the country, visiting client companies and helping teams develop their software.

Danilek had taken an introductory computer science course in high school but had not been particularly drawn to it, so he thought about exploring physics and engineering in college. But his older brother, who now works as a software engineer, had loved computer science since high school, so he thought he would take a course at Hamilton.

“Turns out, I liked it a lot more than physics or engineering, so I decided to stick with it,” Danilek said.

The computer science and math double major had two internships in software development under his belt by his senior year. He feels that those internships provided him with a good foundation for entering the field. But when looking for post-graduate career opportunities, Danilek wanted something more.

“For my full-time job, I was hoping that I’d find something related to software development and engineering, but a little different,” Danilek said. “Something more people-facing, a little more interaction, so it’s not just coding all day. … I was very excited when a Hamilton alum reached out to the Computer Science Department here and asked if anyone would be interested in a consultant program.”

The program at Red Hat provides intensive training, and employees become certified to be system administrators. Marc Petrivelli ’01, managing architect at Red Hat, met with Danilek to discuss opportunities at the company.

“The fact that he would go out on a limb says a lot about Hamilton connections. He was willing to give time and meet with me and my friend and recommend us; it was a huge deal,” said Danilek, who was also impressed with Red Hat’s culture. “Usually, at these companies [since Red Hat is a completely software-based company], it’s very technical, but there was a nice amount of social interaction, which was great.”

Danilek works on campus as a computer science teaching assistant and a physics QSR tutor. Although his concentrations are STEM subjects, his courses at Hamilton have been communication-based, and he feels that this has prepared him well for his future work.

Roger Danilek ’21

Majors: Computer science, mathematics
Hometown: Norwich, Vt.
High School: Hanover High School

“In most classes in the Computer Science Department, you’re working with other people, and I think this job will be a lot of working with other people to solve issues,” Danilek said. “My senior seminar for math was oral presentation based. We basically taught the classes to our peers, which was really fun. So, something like that, explaining really technical stuff to other people, will come in handy.”

Danilek is unsure of what his long-term career goals are, but he might want to explore management.

“Computer science, for me – something about it just really clicks,” Danilek said. “It’s basically like you’re solving puzzles, and sometimes it’s really, really frustrating, and I completely understand people who hate it, because you’re grinding away at silly little details. But at the same time, when you finally get it, it’s really rewarding and you have this really cool product. You can make almost anything with computer science. There are lots of possibilities.”


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