Marcella Hastings

Home Town: Minneapolis, MN

Current Degree Program: BS Computer Science (Engineering)

Research Group/Focus: There are a lot of exciting areas to pursue, so I haven't totally narrowed my focus. At the moment, I'm curious about functional programming.

Why did you pick this particular area: I took a Programming Languages course my sophomore year that was my first exposure to functional languages. A functional language is one in which you can treat a function as an object, in the same way that a number (5) or a string of characters ("banana") is an object. I found it intriguing, because of the interesting ways you could solve problems as compared to an imperative language, and in the tools that make it work (type theory!). Languages that make it easy for programmers to translate their thoughts into code are incredibly valuable, and I'm fascinated by the opportunities to explore features of languages that will help solve new problems as they emerge.

Why did you choose Tufts CS: I spent a total of two hours at Tufts before I officially matriculated, but right off the bat, I found the atmosphere of the school as a whole welcoming and inviting. Once I arrived in the CS department, I found a group of peers and professors who I knew I wanted to spend more time with, so I became a CS major.

What's the best thing about Tufts CS Department: It's a fantastic environment to spend time in. Every other person you talk to is marketing their new app or planning a hackathon or prepping for interviews at Microsoft and Google. Being able to spend time with that caliber of person pushes me to achieve more, and opens my eyes to possibilities that I would never have found on my own.

Advice for those considering enrolling: I came in as a freshman knowing exactly nothing about what I could do with a computer science degree. If you have a hunch that you want to pursue CS, enroll in the intro class. It'll give you the opportunity to meet people in the department, get to know some of the students, and learn more about what opportunities you'll have if you stay in the field.

What do you hope to do after graduation: I'm interested in working in a research and development lab to create new technologies and ideas for a period of time, but I can also envision myself going to grad school and eventually pursuing life as an academic.