Junior computer science major Ryan Atkinson originally was going to pursue a history degree at a different university. His senior year of high school changed that for him after taking an introductory coding class, falling in love with the material.  

“I have always excelled in problem-solving, logic and mathematics so the concepts clicked fast with me,” said Atkinson. “The field is full of opportunities and innovation, and I am excited to see how things change and grow in the future.”

The strong reputation along with hands-on learning opportunities are what drew the Crystal Lake, Illinois native to campus. Since being at MSOE, the computer science program has challenged and pushed Atkinson to be his best.

“The high standards set by MSOE and its computer science program have pushed me to exceed my own expectations, fostering not only academic growth but also personal and professional development. I appreciate the level of depth and specialization the computer science program offers, which has allowed me to engage in hands-on projects that are directly applicable to the real world.”

Atkinson hopes to work in a cybersecurity or data analyst role for a tech company after his time at MSOE comes to a close. His interest in cybersecurity also helped him find and apply for a scholarship. He was awarded the Midwest Cyber Security Alliance Scholarship this fall. This scholarship was made possible by the Midwest Cyber Security Alliance, a group of cybersecurity professionals who strive to provide awareness, education and best practices related to cybersecurity.

“Receiving the Midwest Cyber Security Alliance Scholarship was a great honor and validation for my hard work and dedication to my studies. I was able to alleviate a lot of financial stress and I am more determined than ever to excel in my academic pursuits. I am very thankful for my donor Scott Owens and the MCSA for this opportunity.”

In addition to his studies, Atkinson serves as a tutor with the Raider Center for Academic Success (RCAS) helping his peers with mathematics and coding courses. When he has free time, he enjoys cross country running and working on his own software projects.