Computer programming is like a puzzle for Smithsburg teen

July 01, 2011|By TAYLOR ECKEL |
  • Suzanne Reed of Smithsburg received one of Northrop Grumman's 2011 Engineering Scholars Awards. She plans to study computer engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology.
Submitted photo

For Suzanne Reed, an interest in computers runs in the family.

"I've been really into computers for a long time. My mom teaches technology education at Smithsburg Middle School, and my brother is a computer security major," she said.

Reed, 17, is the recipient of one of Northrop Grumman's 2011 Engineering Scholars Awards. A $10,000 scholarship was awarded to one graduating senior in each of Maryland's 23 counties and Baltimore City. Scholarship recipients must plan to study engineering at a four-year institution.

In the fall, Reed said she will attend Rochester Institute of Technology to study computer engineering.

Reed said her interest in computer engineering was encouraged when she took some computer programming classes during her time at Smithsburg High School.

"I really like programming," she said. "It's like a puzzle."

Reed also said the logical nature of computer programming appeals to her. She said that in high school she also enjoyed her math and physics classes, and that her course of study at Rochester Institute of Technology will require her to further those studies.

"I really liked my physics classes. I had a really good teacher, so it was fun," she said.

She said she chose Rochester Institute of Technology because they have a unique, five-year format that combines traditional classroom learning with real-world job experience.

"They have a really good co-op program there," she said. "During the last three years, every other semester is an internship, so you're only going to classes for three years."

Reed said she hopes the co-op program at RIT will fulfill the scholarship's requirement that she complete two summer internships during her college years. She said she may pursue an internship at Northrop Grumman, and she hopes the internship experiences will give her an idea of a specific career path to pursue.

Reed said she had planned to apply for the scholarship since she learned about it her junior year.

"I saw it last year in The Herald-Mail, so I saved (the article) to remember it for this year," she said.

In addition to her interest in computer science, Reed said she was a member of Smithsburg High's Math Club, track and cross country teams, and the National Honor Society.

The $10,000 scholarship is awarded over the course of four years, and recipients must maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average and participate in a summer internship at least two summers during her college years.

According to Northrop Grumman's website, many high-technology companies across the nation are facing "a critical shortage of specialized engineering personnel."

The purpose of the Engineering Scholars Program is "to motivate some of the brightest and best students with a background and interest in math and science to consider the engineering professions."

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