I have always been a man on the move. I have tried many different activities, hobbies, and sports throughout my young life only to establish few as permanent features. It was not until sixth grade and a little game called Runescape that I started down my path. Looking back, I would have never thought that my hobby of gaming would turn into my life’s passion.
Video games have given me so much more than I could ever give back. I have developed life long friends from games like World of Warcraft. These games have taught me lessons, improved me as a person and cheered me up on a hard day. As an uncertain senior in high school, I did not have a clue as to how to respond when asked 'what do you want to do in life'. However, when decision time came, I knew of one thing that made complete sense.
For the last year, I have been directing and teaching the Hartford Public Library's first computer science program. During my time as an undergraduate, I developed a love for the environment and the interaction with my professors. Because of this, I decided to work towards becoming a professor myself. The library gave me my first opportunity to not only explore teaching, but also construct a program from the ground up. Thus far, I have taught two extensive programs, developed a "gamified" curriculum aimed to help students obtain jobs in a related position, formed and implemented a research study around how high school aged youth respond positively to college level computer science material, created a poster competition for students to display their projects, show off their work to the public and win prizes for their effort and communicated with senators, businesses and organizations to promote computer science and the libraries program.
Currently, I am applying to computer science doctorate programs that have a focus on computer science education. I am constantly researching new topics and giving myself more work to expand my knowledge as far as it can go. In fact, I would not say computer science is work because of how much I enjoy doing it. I hope to continue to support free access to computer science education as well as the inclusion of computer science electives at the high school level.
- John Aromando
I enrolled in Quinnipiac University as a game design and development major. I wanted to provide others with the same experience that video games provided me for years. Per the recommendations from my professors (and the fact that I am artistically challenged), I added computer science as a second major to complement game design. This change would turn out to be the best move of my college career.
In the beginning of my junior year, I dropped game design down to a minor and I added mathematics on as a second minor because of this shifting focus to computer science. I became a very curious person and wanted to learn whatever I could to expand my horizons. First, I decided to explore virtual reality and purchased an early developers kit of the Oculus Rift. I developed a game within Unity that focused on the element of sound within virtual reality. Second, I started to explore machine learning and artificial intelligence because of my interest in the concept of consciousness. I began a three year project that focused on developing a desktop-based virtual assistant. Lastly, I spent my last semester developing a research project focused on pattern recognition; utilizing maximal disks, skeletonization of shapes and the medial axis to further improve the speed and accuracy of shape retrieval.