Cornell University
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Parry Cadwaller, InfoSci Major '13

What are you doing now (job title, company, location)? 

Integrations Consultant, Workday, Pleasanton, CA

Why did you decide to choose Information Science for your major?

I've always been interested in the merger of language and computers. The Info Sci major has the whole range of classes, everything from computational linguistics to computer-mediated communication. There's no other program at Cornell that covers these topics in such a thorough manner. 

Did the program meet your expectations?  Why?

Above and beyond my expectations.  The classes, professors, and peers that I had throughout my time in the Info Sci major influenced me in countless ways. You'll rarely be in a room with as many smart and driven people as in an Info Sci class.

Did you feel you had a clear-cut goal either before or during the program?

I didn't have a clear-cut goal and I think that was part of the fun. Each class I went into without any expectations of what I would finish with. I've created a Chinese speech analyzer, a real-time collaborative whiteboard, and lead a seminar session on translation technology. If you had told me I'd be able to do that freshman year, I would have thought you were crazy. 

What courses did you take that have helped you most in your career? 

Web Information Systems - I use XML/XSLT and crazy APIs every day. 

User Experience - Thinking about the end-user first has helped the software I design tremendously. 

Computational Linguistics - Regular expressions, enough said.

Were there other experiences that were part of being an IS student that have helped you in your career? 

Being asked "So, what did you try first?" by a TA. It's one thing to ask questions, it's another to ask a question after trying a bunch of things. The people you will be working with are busy and will appreciate that you took the time to try to solve whatever problem you have before turning to them with questions. Of course, never be ashamed to ask a question - everyone was a beginner once. Sometimes a question you think will have an obvious answer will actually be a head-scratcher for even the most seasoned veteran. 

What advice would you give to a current student in the program?

Talk to grad students. Even if they don't look it, they're doing some pretty awesome stuff and are generally really cool people to talk to.

Experiment. Once you start working you probably won't be allowed to use different technologies on a whim. This program is the place to try out everything under the sun. 

Work on your written communication. Email isn't going away and if you can't describe, explain, and cajole in writing by the time you graduate you'll be behind.