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Ben Ryan '21

Hackathons & Hiragana


Perhaps the most meaningful thing that I have done in regard to computer science is joining W&M ACM. W&M's student-run chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery, an international society for computing, was really where I found my home within the department. They care deeply about promoting and progressing the field, and about creating a welcoming, inclusive, and enriching environment for computer science at William & Mary. Through my experience in organizing the Cypher V hackathon last Spring, I gained many close and meaningful friends and am deeply proud of the event we were able to put on, not only for members of the William & Mary community, but for many participants from other universities. This year, I am the lead organizer for Cypher VI and have been focusing primarily on continuing to improve the inclusivity of our event as well as improving our environment sustainability.

When I came to W&M, even though I had already fulfilled my language requirement, I jumped into Japanese classes. As a person interested in technical fields, I will potentially be able to use Japanese as a marketable skill in my professional life. But ultimately, what drove me was my desire to learn the language and understand the culture. It's a challenging language to learn, but it has always been one of my most exciting and enjoyable classes. As I have progressed into higher level courses, I have met some wonderful who share my passion for learning and have helped me develop a skill that I wouldn't have thought I could develop. The professors are deeply invested in their student's success and have shown me patience and understanding as I work towards my goals. I plan to go to Japan to teach English after graduating, and I am incredibly proud and fortunate to be a part of one of the inaugural graduating classes in the Japanese Studies major.