Computer science student prepares for job at GoogleSamuel Beckman | Computer Science, Undergraduate | Department of Computer & Information Science A present on his eleventh birthday set the course for Sam Beckman’s interest in computer science.
It wasn’t the videogame itself that inspired him; it was what he could do with the game. After many attempts, Beckman figured out ways to manipulate the programming code, which enabled him to change elements of the game’s world.
“Seeing an entire virtual world change from simply editing a file was immensely satisfying,” Beckman recalls. “This was the first time that I controlled a computer program at that level. I felt like a hacker.”
Despite Beckman’s “hacking” days being over, his interest in computer science isn’t. Excitement and perseverance in his studies have led him to a job at one of the biggest names in the tech world: Google. After graduating from IUPUI this May with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and minor in mathematics, Beckman will join the new Engineering Residency Program at Google’s second largest engineering office in New York City.
During the interview process with Google, one class in particular guided Beckman: Theory of Computation with Judy Gersting, Ph.D., professor emeritus.
“My interviews with Google were heavily focused on topics I learned in her class,” he said. “Had she not been teaching, I don’t believe I would have done as well.
Gersting not only ensured that Samuel was able to discuss with her the challenging topics from class, but also went a step further and served as a mentor to him. Beckman reminisced going to Gersting’s office hours for homework questions and talking to her about life and future plans.
Moving to New York City for his new job may seem like a daunting prospect, but Beckman is already an experienced traveler. After spending many years of his childhood growing up in Thailand with his family, he decided to return through an IUPUI study abroad program that focused on creation and design of sustainable approaches to community development in Thailand. With his classmates, Beckman was immersed once again in Thai culture to better understand effective ways of creating spaces within communities.
Because of his familiarity with Thailand, Samuel helped his trip leader, David Jan Cowan, teach the other students about Thai culture. Beckman quickly became friends with Cowan during the trip and received advice about grad school and the prospect of working for Google. Cowan is now retired but Beckman hopes to visit him in Canada this summer before moving to New York City.