“Computer Scientists aren’t friendly – they don’t really like being around people.”  “Computer Science doesn’t sound interesting to me – I want to exercise my creativity, not sit in front of a screen all day.”  “My interests are too broad to focus on the nitty-gritty details required to develop software.”  You’ve probably heard these stereotypes and more about Computer Science, whether on social media, television, or elsewhere.  Jonathan Chaffer, winner of the 2021 Boundy Prize in Computer Science, is a great example of someone who doesn’t fit into the neat little box people so often think defines Computer Scientists.

Jonathan has always been interested in creating things with and for computers.  He grew up making drawings in Photoshop, composing music in GarageBand, and building games in Scratch.  In middle school and high school, he gravitated toward becoming a cartoonist or graphic designer.  But his curiosity about how computers work and how to build software for them eventually led him to study computer science in college.  Now, he has realized that he loves creating things but doesn’t really like getting his hands dirty.  He loves how in Computer Science he can play around, try new things, and experiment without ever having to clean up a mess afterwards!  Even though he chose to focus on Computer Science, he continued his interest in communication and the graphics art through his minors in Communication and Studio Art, as well as by being the lead graphic designer for the Student Activities Committee for 3 years.

The best part of my experience as a Computer Science student at Hope was the close connections with the professors and other students and the many opportunities to do work for the department outside of class. I hope students and faculty will remember my leadership and service to the department as well as my classroom achievements

One way Jonathan built relationships with his fellow students was through serving as a teaching assistant, as well as being a key staff member in the Computer Science Help Center.  He received the Computer Science Leadership award for his leadership and service to the department.

Jonathan will soon begin a position as a developer at Atomic Object in Grand Rapids.  Long term, he hopes to continue working in the software industry in some capacity, and eventually hopes to become an independent developer publishing his own apps.  He is confident that the diverse skills he developed through his liberal arts education at Hope will be beneficial to help him reach those goals.  We know he’ll do great things, and look forward to seeing what he is able to accomplish in the future.  Congratulations Jonathan, your contributions to the department have been much appreciated, and you will definitely be missed in the coming years!

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