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Name: Benessa Defend
School: Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN
Department: Computer Science
Classification: Senior, graduating in May 2005
Major: Computer Science with a concentration in Computer Science
Minor: Mathematics
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Email: bdefend14 at apmail dot apsu dot edu

Why CS? I really liked AP Calculus BC in high school, so when I got to college, I took Calculus III for fun. On the advice of my Latin teacher from high school, I took Intoduction to Programming I. I fell in love with CS and before the end of my first semester, I had declared my major in CS and minor in Math. Math is such a huge part of CS, so I think I have found the perfect field for me.

  • I like to read books by Daniel Quinn and Stephen King. My favorite book is Ishmael by Daniel Quinn because it really changed my whole outlook on life, the environment, and the world.
  • I listen to music while I program, read, or pretty much do anything. Click here to listen to my personal station on Launch.
  • I don't watch TV very much, but my favorite shows are The Simpsons, ER, Queer as Folk, and Family Guy. I like Lisa Simpson because she reminds me of myself.
  • I also enjoy cooking, which is why I am moving out of a dorm room and into an apartment with a full kitchen next semester. My favorite things to cook are desert foods, such as cookies, brownies, fudge, and cakes. Which leads me to my next hobby...
  • I work out at least five times a week. And, yes, I do enjoy working out so I really do consider it a hobby.
  • Of course I love to spend time with my fiancee, Myah.

  • APSU student chapter of the ACM, President 2004-2005, Vice President 2003-2004
  • Tri Lambda Computer Science Fraternity, President 2004-2005, Secretary 2003-2004
  • Residence Hall Association, Secretary 2003-2005
  • College Democrats, Treasurer 2004-2005
  • Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society, member since 2002
  • Galois Math Club, member since 2004
  • Student Organization Council, member 2003-2005

Background: I graduated in 2002 from Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School for the Health Sciences and Engineering in Nashville, TN. I took 6 Advanced Placement classes in HS that translated into 39 college credit hours. Thus, I am able to obtain my Bachelor's degree in only 3 years. I'll be 20 when I graduate with my Bachelor's degree. Hip-hip-horray!

Where next? I have decided that I want to go to grad school and pursue a Ph.D. in Computer Science. Lots of people ask me why I would want to stay in school when I can just go get a good job after graduation. Well, for one thing, I like school. I have always been a big nerd and book worm, so I feel at home in an academic environment. Plus, I think it would be fun to do research for the 5 years or so that I would be in the Ph.D. program. Besides, I will only be 20 when I graduate, so I am in no hurry to jump into the job market. Grad school here I come!