Kevin Bednar '16
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Parma, OH
Minor: Business Administration
Future Computer Forensic Specialist
More than a Spectator
In fifth grade, a family friend, Susan Moore ’77, took me to a Mount Union football game. It was one of the best days of my life. There was so much energy at the game, and afterward she bought me a ton of Mount gear as well as purple and white decorated cookies. From the moment I stepped on campus (yes, back in fifth grade) I fell in love and knew that I wanted to go to school here! It was such an exciting place to be. The college students cheering in the student section looked like they were having the time of their lives, and I knew that one day I would be part of the action. Ever since that day, I kept coming back often… I heard so many great stories and got so much insight. I wanted to experience Mount as a student, not just a spectator at a football game. Plus, they had my major!
Kevin Bednar, Computer Science Major
Computer Science has always interested me. Ever since I was young, I have been able to fix other people’s computer problems. I’ve always been interested to know how computers and their programs worked. Now, it is something more than work, it is one of the ways in which I identify myself. I am Kevin Bednar: Computer Science Major. I also like that it is a challenging major that forces you to think outside the box and from a different perspective than many other majors.
Part of the Action
At Mount Union, you aren’t just a number, you are a person. You don’t just sit in on huge lectures; the professors’ personalized lesson plans captivate you. The smaller classroom sizes mean personalized attention from professors. I also love the sense of community that Mount offers. It is easy to make friends and there is never a dull moment. Everyone is always active, doing anything from playing intramural sports to having board game nights in the suites.
Opportunity of a Lifetime
Mount Union is preparing me for success after graduation in ways not many other schools can. In partnership with the Alliance City School District, I was able to land an internship that has given me more major-related experience than I could have asked for. Nothing beats going to class to learn then showing up to work in an administrative setting every day to further your knowledge and skills. My internship with Alliance City Schools started the summer going into my sophomore year. I thought it was awesome that I would be getting real life experience so early in my college career. I expected to work only a few hours a day over the summer. I began by physically cleaning the computers, blowing out the projector filter and updating teachers’ computers. I enjoyed every minute of even these basic tasks. I think my boss, Chad Morris ’05, was able to see my passion for the subject. He asked if I wanted to start working full-time. Without thought, I said yes, knowing there was so much more to learn and experience. Just as I thought, soon after saying “Yes,” things got a lot more serious, but all the more interesting for me. I am now responsible for troubleshooting, repairing and updating computers and mobile devices, teaching students and teachers in Alliance how to use helpful programs and overseeing several learning programs in Alliance City Schools. I had the opportunity to be a guest speaker at Alliance Middle School and at Mount Union. I am responsible for many more things than I can mention, but I am so thankful for my growing responsibilities. Working at Alliance has also helped me network and build clientele. Because I proved myself trustworthy and hard-working, I have done numerous side jobs for friends/family of district members.
My favorite place on campus would have to be the newly renovated press box. I had the pleasure of doing statistics for the Alliance Aviators football team, which uses Mount’s field for their home games. It was an awesome experience to be in the finest DIII press box watching my favorite sport!
A New Way of Thinking
My favorite class so far has been CSC 120, Programming and Problem Solving I. This was the class that really introduced me to computer science here at Mount and really got me to look at things a different way... a programming way! My favorite hands-on experience would have to be the programming assignments. In most of the computer classes you take here at Mount, there are three or four of these that literally make you think like a programmer. You are given a few guidelines and a due date and that’s it – it’s up to you to determine how the program gets done in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.
There are many professors that I aspire to be like once I graduate. Their knowledge and understanding is truly exceptional. If I had to pick one favorite, it would be Dr. Anne Triplett. She was my professor for Calculus, perhaps the hardest class I will have to take at Mount Union. I really struggled with the Calculus concept, but she made sure I didn’t fall behind. We met for countless hours outside of the classroom to make sure I understood everything and was prepared for the upcoming class. In the classroom, she even compared some concepts to computer science concepts, to try to put things in a way I could understand.
Outside the Box
Most college graduates are not prepared for their careers and life after college. They are one-dimensional. They are programmed to use what their major has taught them to do their assigned task, and then move on. Because of the liberal arts education I am receiving, I will not be part of that statistic. A liberal arts degree will help me get a broader understanding of diverse concepts while strengthening my knowledge of my major, computer science. The goal of a liberal arts education is to help a student think outside of the box. This liberal arts education helps develop critical thinking skills, which are, according to many employers, much more important. A well-conditioned, critically thinking mind combined with the professional preparation from working for Alliance City Schools will definitely give me that competitive advantage.
I like that Computer Science is a challenging major that forces you to think outside the box and from a different perspective than many other majors.