Senior Stories: Computer Science

  • Published: Feb 3, 2020 12:00AM

Taylor wouldn't be Taylor without amazing students. Developing servant leaders marked with a passion to minister Christ's redemptive love is why we are here. Students seeking to serve through many different fields and careers are participating in this Senior Stories series to share how God has used Taylor in their lives. 

Computer Science at Taylor

Sometimes people are surprised at the high-quality of our Computer Science program, given that Taylor is a Liberal Arts institution. They win cybersecurity competitions and get challenge coins. Our Computer Science students get top-tier internships and jobs with organizations like Lockheed Martin and The Air Force for a reason. While learning technical skills, our students are also taught well-rounded ethics and have the faith and critical thinking skills to apply their technical abilities

Meet a couple of seniors graduating from our Computer Science program:


matt-hapner

Name: David Fletcher '20
Major: Computer Science/Systems
Hometown: Round Hill, VA 


Why did you choose to attend Taylor and select your major?

Initially, I didn’t want to attend my parents’ alma mater. However, they asked me to attend the CRAM program (now Summer Institute) and halfway through that program, I knew for certain that Taylor University was the place for me. As for my major, I had some interest in computer science already, but I didn’t know what I really wanted to study (I’m a nerd and want to know everything). There was one pivotal moment freshman year where I found the list of majors on taylor.edu and just prayed about each and every single one listed there. The one I felt the most peace about was Computer Science, so that’s where I landed.

Who has had the greatest impact on you during your time at Taylor?

Abi Noble, my former hall-director, was my most significant mentor during my time at Taylor. She helped me understand contemporary issues a lot more (I struggle to stay connected to the news and such) and was the most Christ-like person I knew on campus for my sophomore and junior years. I also have been deeply impacted by my peers at school, like the guys on my floor. Dr. Stanley and I have developed a good friendship that I deeply appreciate and am thankful for.

What advice would you give a high school student who is considering entering your major?

For computer science, I would say that they should be ready to learn through reading. A lot of the instruction that you’ll need to be successful in your coding classes isn’t given through a lecture, but rather found in textbooks and online documentation. If you want to finish a project quickly, you’ll spend 25%-40% of those hours reading. It’s one of the most important skills in our field, and I think that this fact isn’t well understood all the time.  

What would you tell students considering attending Taylor?

Taylor University (or college in general) is an incredible place to grow and learn about yourself, other people around you, Creation, and ultimately God. Let university be a period in your life where you spend more time listening than speaking. Ask a lot of questions, and don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions that might cause some awkwardness. When some people are silent, that doesn’t mean they have nothing to say, but they may just be waiting for a time when someone asks them what they think. If you ask good questions (and truly listen), you will hear many things that will broaden your perspective. 


matt-hapner

Name: Matt Hapner '20
Major: Computer Science/Systems
Hometown: Muncie, IN


Why did you choose to attend Taylor and select your major?

Choosing Taylor for undergraduate was mostly a no-brainer for me. My parents had both graduated from Taylor way back in the Stone Ages, and all four of my older siblings had graduated or were about to graduate by the time I arrived as a freshman...I think it’s safe to say that Taylor is in many ways home to me. As far as choosing to study computer science, I would also say my family played a large role in shaping that. I’ve always had a fondness for computers since my dad also studied computer science...I did not do much programming until later in my high school years, but I was exposed to problem solving through various video games at an early age.

How has your faith been affected by your Taylor experience?

My Taylor experience has grown my faith tremendously. Some of that growth was fairly passive, and I believe it could come to anyone who is a believer just by the challenge of being put in a new environment. But most of the growth I experienced in my faith was a result of forcing myself into a position where I had to trust in God and watch him provide for me. I did this mainly through traveling on short term missions trips, applying for leadership positions, and being willing to ask the tough questions of others. My understanding of the Gospel has shifted so much from the time I was a freshman until now, and that understanding has helped me deepen my relationship with the King.

What advice would you give a high school student who is considering entering your major at Taylor?

The Computer Science Department at Taylor is incredible. I often took my professors for granted and did not realize how excellent they were...The curriculum can be very challenging and will occupy most of your time, but you are choosing to attend Taylor to be a student first and foremost. Many of my peers in this major had little to no programming experience coming in, so if you’re in that boat, don’t sweat it! Much of what Taylor prides itself on will happen to you, but it is not going to be sunshine and roses every day. If you apply yourself, you will be challenged and exhausted at times, but you will also be fulfilled and a more holistic human being.