Sophomore Sam Hawke, a statistics and machine learning major from Malvern, Pennsylvania, answers a few questions about student life at Carnegie Mellon, why he chose his major, what his plans are coming up, and what class he thinks all students should take.
1. What do you enjoy about campus life?
I really enjoy how passionate people on campus are about not only their own studies, but the inter-disciplinary connections between different fields. The essence of student life at Carnegie Mellon is interacting with really smart people, which only makes you smarter.
2. What do you get involved in outside of swimming?
I love math a lot; not just doing it, but helping others to learn it too. As soon as I could, I became a TA for a math class, so I could spend my free time helping students understand math and learn the material even deeper myself by seeing it from different perspectives.
3. Have you had an internship?
I have not yet had an internship. Last summer I worked as a swim coach, and it was really fun. As the summer after my freshman year, it was pretty much the last summer when I got the chance to relax and just be a kid. People focus a lot on getting an internship immediately, but enjoy these moments too! They won't last forever!
4. Tell us something coming up that excites you?
I am really excited for my Introduction to (theoretical) Machine Learning class for next semester. After two years of building up the basics of Math, Computer Science, and Statistics, I simply cannot wait to dive right into the field of Artificial Intelligence and see how mathematical models can be used to write a program that "learns" in a way similar to the human brain.
5. What are your summer plans?
This summer I have an internship working for a company near my home (outside of Philadelphia) called Vertex Inc. They are a company that provides to many Fortune 500 companies a product that manages tax laws in a diverse range of places. I am not exactly sure what I will be doing yet, but I am excited to see how I can apply my study of Statistics and Machine Learning in this setting.
6. Why did you select your course of study?
I chose to study Statistics and Machine Learning because it has enough math to satisfy my interest in theoretical math, while simultaneously being a very applied, "hot" field which has the potential to revolutionize the world (in addition to being a really cool sounding buzzword).
7. What class has been recommended by your teammates (or past teammates) or friends as a MUST TAKE class at CMU?
Many of my teammates recommend that everyone take 15-112, the introduction to computer science and computer programming class. But I would recommend that everyone take 21-127, Concepts of Mathematics. It is very different from the type of math most people see in high school, and, in my opinion, is way cooler than calculus.
8. What has been a memorable moment so far during your time on the swimming and diving team?
My conference meet freshman year was the meet of my life (so far). The best feeling ever is swimming faster than you ever have, with all of your teammates cheering you on like crazy.