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Tech enthusiast finds home at Northeastern

09/12/15 - BOSTON, MA. - Andrew Colgin, CIS'20 poses for a portrait on Sept. 12, 2016. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

As a kid, Andrew Colgin liked to tinker with technology.

He fixed his family’s broken laptops and learned how to build servers from scratch. He designed custom-made computers for clients in his Houston neighborhood and took college-level classes in robotics, virtual reality, and human-computer interaction.

And now—surprise, surprise—he’s a first-year student in Northeastern’s computer science program.

“I’m a stereotypical nerd who likes taking computers apart,” says Colgin, CIS’20. “I’m really techy.”

At Northeastern, he feels at home. One night during the first week of the fall semester, he whiled away the hours playing an online multiplayer game with his computer science peers.

“There are students all around me who like a lot of the same things that I do,” he says. “I’ve only been here a few weeks, but I can already tell I’m going to love it.”

Colgin is ambitious, to be sure, eager to dive headfirst into campus life. He is interested in joining several student organizations—including Northeastern’s chapter of the Association of Computing Machinery—and finding ways to incorporate his passion for the piano into his academic experience.

“Any piece of music is just math converted into audible signals,” says Colgin, who has been playing the piano for eight years and winning recital awards for almost as long. “You can train a computer to listen to sound and make beautiful music.”

His fascination with Northeastern took shape during his campus visit in the spring, he says, pointing in particular to its vibrant student body and signature co-op program. And he’s already expressed interest in becoming part of the university’s thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, with an eye toward working for a startup.

“I want to go out and build something I can call my own,” he says. “I want to work on something that I can put my name on.”

For now, he’s content to continue to acclimate to life at his new home away from home. His classes are engaging—in his discrete structures course, professor Javad Aslam performs math-based magic tricks—and his social circle is quickly filling up with good friends.

“I’m really looking forward to learning about new ideas and starting my new life here,” he says.

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