Vade Kamenitsa-Hale, Computer Science, Linguistics & Political Science

Vade Kamenitsa-Hale in UW-Madison marching band at 2020 Rose Bowl
Vade Kamenitsa-Hale in UW-Madison marching band at 2020 Rose Bowl

Year in school: I am a junior expecting to graduate in the spring of 2021
Hometown: Oak Park, Illinois

Why are you pursuing degrees in these areas?
I have enjoyed studying computers and languages since late high school, and I felt like I understood both subjects well, so I decided to continue studying them in college. I decided to add a political science major because politics have played an important role in my life, and I find that field very interesting, so when the opportunity to add that major appeared, I figured I might as well study that as well.

Which major came first?
I decided to pursue computer science and linguistics at the same time while I was registering for my classes freshman year. I added the political science major in the spring semester of my sophomore year.

How do the majors work together?
I find that each major interacts with the other two in beneficial ways, although I have to admit that all three rarely overlap. Computer Science, specifically, has provided me with tools to understand data structures and data analyses tools, which is very helpful for both linguistic analysis and political polling.

Do you have career plans?
I do not have a specific career in mind, but there are a few careers that are of interest to me because I would be able to use my skills from the different fields I am studying. One possibility is natural language processing and artificial intelligence. A career in that field would combine my computer science knowledge with my background in linguistics. Alternatively, I might combine computer science and political science to work in polling and data collection about voters.

Was it difficult to find classes and graduate on time?
I have not found it very difficult to find classes for the majors, and I will graduate in four years. I was fortunate to arrive at college with a number of AP credits, which significantly lowered the total number of credits that I needed to complete for the computer science major. I have run into schedule conflicts before, but no more than any other student, and most of the conflicts are with marching band rehearsal.

Anything surprising about your double major?
I was surprised at how similar the problem solving skills required for linguistics and computer science are. I was also surprised by the general code comprehension required to do data analysis in both political science and linguistics.