Mitchell Morris decided he wanted to become an engineer by using the same kind of methodical approach engineers use in their work.
“It was more a step-by-step process,” says Mitchell, PhD ’10 Computer Science, than a singular moment of epiphany. He said his passion for computer science began before he was in high school, when his mother brought home a graphing calculator.
“She is a math professor and started using them in her classes,” he says. “I learned how to program the calculators in their own BASIC-like language.”
Mitchell and a friend programmed formulas from their math classes and installed games on the calculators.
“By the time I applied to college, there was no doubt in my mind that computer science was the path for me.”
By then, Mitchell was already familiar with Columbia University.
“When I was in high school, I was part of the Columbia Science Honors Program,” he says. “Because of my familiarity with the campus, and my dreams of living in Manhattan, I wanted to attend Columbia very much.”
Hometown: Harrison, New York
Undergraduate degree: BS Computer Science, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
Favorite Band: ASOB
Favorite Movie: Batman Begins
Favorite spot in NYC:Times Square
Hobbies: Games, programming and friends
Mitchell deferred that dream a bit to first attend McGill University in Montreal. After graduation, he then entered Columbia SEAS as a one-term special student, a program for those who not yet certain they want to pursue a graduate degree.
Once he was here and taking two classes, it didn’t take Mitchell long to decide.“I started with that and now I’m staying!”
Mitchell expects to earn his Ph.D. in Computer Science by 2010.
He has already begun using his experiences on campus in the workplace.
“I am using what I have learned all the time,” he says. “In my internships at IBM, I have applied the software engineering skills I have learned at school. At my internship at Credit Suisse, I apply the independent problem-solving skills that I have developed during my research time. In my game design hobby, I apply the concepts that I learned in the video game design courses.”
Mitchell is not yet certain on his career goal. He is divided between three paths: finance, industrial research and game design.