Taking the Next Step: Computer Science Students Prepare to Enter Top Graduate School Programs

There’s a simple, but common theme that emerges among graduating students at Rutgers University–Camden as commencement comes into focus and they begin to reflect on their undergraduate journey. It’s that hard work pays off.

Katherine Scola and Mark Lippincott will attend top graduate school programs for computer science.

Katherine Scola and Mark Lippincott will attend top graduate school programs for computer science.

“The most important thing I learned was that success can be found anywhere with enough resilience and perseverance,” Mark Lippincott, a senior computer science major from Berlin, says of his time at Rutgers–Camden.

Lippincott is one of three Rutgers–Camden students recently accepted into competitive graduate computer science programs, and they’re crediting their Rutgers–Camden experience and the guidance of Rajiv Gandhi, an associate professor of computer science at Rutgers–Camden, with lighting the way.

This fall, Lippincott will attend the University of Pennsylvania to pursue his master’s degree in computer and information science. Katherine Scola, a mathematics major from Marlton, has committed to the University of Maryland to study theoretical computer science. Christopher Hodsdon, a mathematics major from Collingswood, will attend the University of Southern California, where he recently performed research as part of an internship.

“Rutgers–Camden gave me the opportunity to work with Professor Gandhi to strengthen my foundational knowledge in computer science and gave me the opportunity to experience a research internship at the University of Southern California,” Hodsdon says.

The Camden Catholic High School graduate explains that he had not even considered computer science as a career path until taking Gandhi’s courses.

“Rutgers–Camden gave me the opportunity to...strengthen my foundational knowledge in computer science," Christopher Hodsdon says.

“Rutgers–Camden gave me the opportunity to…strengthen my foundational knowledge in computer science,” Christopher Hodsdon says.

“The more I learned about the field, the more I came to respect and enjoy it,” he says. “I find the theoretical portion of computer science interesting in its own right, and the idea that these theoretical ideas can be molded and applied to real-world problems is even more intriguing.”

Scola, a Paul VI High School graduate, says her Rutgers–Camden experience allowed her continue her pursuit of becoming a teacher and provided her with opportunities to perform research at the undergraduate level.

“As I took more and more computer science classes, I began to realize that computer science was about more than just programming,” Scola says. “I started to really enjoy the theoretical aspects of it.  It felt like a good blend of both math and computer science.”

“Rutgers helped me reach my goal by having professors that encouraged me to get interested in research, and helping me find research opportunities,” Scola says.

Lippincott, a Camden County Technical School graduate, says studying computer science has also allowed him to become well-versed in other disciplines.

“It has so many applications in such a wide range of interdisciplinary fields, and a single abstract solution in computer science can be applied to a number of problems in other fields,” he says.

As the three students prepare to take their next step, it’s clear that their Rutgers–Camden experience has opened doors to new opportunities.

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