I spent much of the summer of 2011 at the University of Washington at Seattle as part of the Summer Academy for Advancing Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing in Computing. (Will they ever change that name so it isn’t a mouthful???) It’s a nine-week residential program that brings 13 deaf and hard-of-hearing students together who take courses and attend talks together. I was one of those students, along with my brother. When I first heard about the program, I had mixed feelings. I didn’t consider myself as a computer science person, and I felt like this program wouldn’t match my interests. But what was once a near last-choice summer experience may have unintentionally, yet incredibly, led me to gravitate towards computer science as a major.
You can read the description of the program on the web (alternatively, just Google search Summer Academy Deaf and Hard of Hearing) so I won’t explain everything. However, it wasn’t like being at Williams, since there were only 2 classes there compared with 4 at my college. What this program offered that I hadn’t experienced before was the opportunity to see what current computer science graduate students and workers were doing. Graduate students presented their topics, ranging from Android programs to touch-screens for blind people, while people in industry talked about their experience and jobs, which typically involved software engineering or information technology.
We’ll see how this program impacts me in the future. Check back in five years.
In the meantime, I’m going to read more about the ultra-popular computer game — not just at the Summer Academy but global — Minecraft and it’s upcoming 1.8 version. I can’t wait….