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The Extra-Curricular: Computers!

The following blog post was written by Peer Advisor Riley, a CCAS sophomore transferring into SEAS to study computer science. You can learn more about him here.

Hi, UHPers! Welcome to another edition of The Extra Curricular. My academic career began at the Elliott School and is transitioning into SEAS, where I study computer science. When you’re in a position like mine, you will be much better off by exposing yourself to all the new things and rooting yourself in orgs that reward you for sacrificing free time. I belong to Buff and Blue Hat (BBH) and GW Systems Hacking Club (SHC), both of which are focused on understanding systems. My experiences with these orgs taught me lessons about personal growth that I would like to share with you.

This semester, I serve as vice president of BBH which looks at system security and is generally more open to newcomers who know very little computer science. When I first started attending meetings, the great thing about BBH was that the club had loose structure, few members, and plenty of opportunities to ask questions from knowledgeable people. These factors are so important because they let me shape my learning. As I often suggested stuff I wanted to learn and researched topics to bring to the group, I became a central part of the club and it became an excellent tool for me. There is a lot of value in growing an org because you will find yourself growing with it!  

Even in established clubs, getting involved will build you up. That’s especially beneficial when the club teaches you skills and concepts that will appear in later jobs, classes, etc. SHC focuses on the gritty details of operating systems and large code bases. It’s backed by professor Gabe Parmer (Operating Systems Professor) and is a great avenue for research with him or for participating in projects with other students. And it provides students with a way to teach interesting topics that you learn along the way. By getting involved and giving a talk, I was able to take on a research position with a systems professor and feel comfortable with the material.  

If these clubs sound interesting or you want to contact me, check out the info below:

Email: rileykennedy@gwu.edu

BBH: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bbhgw/

SHC: https://github.com/GW-SHC