It’s a new year, and that means not only new students but new professors as well. Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jaime Spacco chatted about being a student at Haverford College and then the University of Maryland, computer science and what he likes about Knox.
Did you major in computer science as an undergrad?
I majored in computer science and English. I always had in the back of my mind the concern that I would eventually need to have a job and I really enjoyed both subjects. I wanted to do something a little more applied, but I knew [studying English] was an opportunity I wouldn’t have again, and I absolutely had to take advantage of that. I still read.
What is your field of study?
Software engineering and computer science education.
How did you decide to get your Ph.D. in Computer Science?
I wanted to teach at a liberal arts college after going to one. I thought, “I really like this.”
How did you end up at Knox?
I was a visiting professor at Colgate University for four years. I found myself in the job market, and Knox was the best opportunity.
What do you think of Knox so far?
I really like it. I think it’s amazing what Knox is able to do, given its budget, given its endowment. I think Colgate had about seven times the endowment Knox had, and they had a brand new science building, but I don’t think the quality of the education’s that different. Knox has really good, really dedicated faculty. You know the myth—how politicians always want to say they’re from a small town, their dad was a plumber, their mom was a social worker—I think Knox is living out that myth. It’s incredible. Maybe frugality forces the school to be careful with decisions.
Tell me about your classes.
I memorized everyone’s names, finally, after two weeks. I really like them. I like teaching intro [CS 141]. I’m really hoping to convince some of the students in the intro class to consider majoring. I like the Knox students. They’re hardworking, which is good. When I went to college, for the first time in my life I felt I really fit in somewhere. I guess college redefines what “cool” is, and that’s the feeling I get from Knox—that the students have found a place where they fit.