Jacob Williamson ’15 – Humanities broadens horizons

Jacob Williamson ’15 graduated with a double major in German and computer science. He is finding his class time in humanities courses to be extremely helpful, even while looking for jobs outside of that realm.

“I’m on the job hunt right now and have had a few interviews at different technology companies around Iowa,” Jacob said. “My plan is to get a doctorate in German as soon as I can, but right now I’m looking at jobs in computer science.”

He recognizes the liberal arts background at Simpson as one of the key factors in success in both a career and his life in general. Without branching out and learning from different areas of study, he believes, students and eventual employees start to develop a closed-minded state.
“It wasn’t really a choice to study German at Simpson,” he said. “I had studied it in high school and I saw it more as choosing to not give it up than choosing to continue it. As for computer science, I just wanted to know more about computer science, and I was able to just enhance what I was learning both in and out of the humanities.”

While the combination of German and computer science as areas of study may seem a bit random at first glance, Jacob found the combination actually fostered his learning abilities in both fields.

“Humanities, and learning another language especially, challenge you to take in information quickly and adapt quickly, whereas computer science basically has its own language with programming,” he said. “There is syntax and grammar to consider in both.”

While both majors helped him grow as a student, Jacob recognized the differences in learning styles needed for both.

“There is a method in the sciences and they have their required steps,” he said. “Humanities don’t have those same strict steps. It’s a lot more about finding your own way and experiencing the subject matter from a different perspective.”

As for what drew him to Simpson, Jacob credits the Upward Bound program for showing him what to expect in a college setting.

“I started in Upward Bound as a sophomore in high school, so I got to spend time on campus and start taking classes,” Jacob said. “By the time you’re a senior, you start bridging between high school and college with different kinds of classes and more freedom over the summer.”

After spending three summers on campus, Jacob knew Simpson would be the best place to continue his education.

“I got involved with Student Support Services, which I think of as a college-level Upward Bound in some ways. I knew I could study a lot of different things and still finish on time since general education requirements are well embedded into the curriculum.”

“Everything from computer science classes to my semester in Germany made my time at Simpson that much more valuable to me as a student.”

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