Amanda Robinson, Computer Sciences & Spanish

Amanda Robinson in Costa Rica

Year in school (and/or when you expect to graduate): Senior, expected graduation May 2020
Hometown: Oregon, WI

Why are you pursuing degrees in both of your areas?
I am pursuing both because I am passionate about them both, and with the credits I had, I knew it was feasible to do both and graduate in 4 years.

Which major came first? Or did you decide to pursue them both at the same time?
I came into school with the intention of either pursuing engineering or CS. My first semester I took the pre-req classes for engineering i.e. Chem 109 and Calc 2 but I also took Spanish to get the retroactive credits. It was in my second semester that I chose to take CS 302 and decided I would pursue CS. It was in my second year, March of 2018, that I realized it was worth making the extra to effort to get the Spanish major because with each class I took, I continued to fall in love with Spanish. It eventually became evident I probably wouldn’t stop taking Spanish and therefore should get the major.

How do the two work together?
This is a question that I have been asking self for some time. In some sense the Spanish major is something that I see as a passion project. For me the Spanish, while I hope it will, does not necessarily have to impact my future jobs for me to feel like it was worth it. Through the Spanish major I was able to study abroad, sharpen my Spanish skills, and learn more about many things that I would otherwise not have been able to do as just a CS major. That all said, I do hope to apply what I have learned about how people learn languages and combine this with my CS knowledge to work on Natural Language Processing.

Do you have career plans? If so, how do you think these two degrees will help you in the future?
At this point I am pursuing options related to Cybersecurity. Cybersecurity is something that I have been able to learn more about through intern experiences and classes here on campus. I don’t at this time see how I will directly use my Spanish major, but it does expand my options geographically.

Has it been difficult to get classes for both majors? And/or to finish on time? 
Due to where I started with the Spanish major (204), and given the 9 credits I took abroad over the summer, I have had no difficulties finding the classes and time to do both majors.

Has there been anything surprising about your path through these two degrees?
For me I like the fact that the Spanish major challenges to me to think in a different way even if the two majors do not work together closely.