The Conscious Computer Scientist

 

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Some people call themselves scientists, engineers, or mathematicians. Some identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and many more. It was not until recently I discovered that these identities do not necessarily have to be mutually exclusive.


 

When I was younger, I entertained dreams of becoming the President of the United States as well as an astronaut and a marine biologist. I was going to do it all (and look good doing it). However, when I first realized that, under all my hopes and dreams, I was attracted to men, everything that I had ever aspired to be seemed no longer possible. I feared that this characteristic was the only thing that was going to define me for the rest of my life, and my passions for math, science, and Pokemon would no longer be of importance.

Today, I am different from the naive sixteen-year-old I was and, thankfully, recognize the folly in my thinking. However, I am only this way because of the influences of those I have looked up to and am surrounded by. Events such as oSTEM’s Professor Panels are important because of the representation of people who have managed to succeed and thrive in their respective academic fields, while still remaining true to who they are.

This intersection between my sexual orientation and race allows me to bring a very unique perspective to the table, and I am not alone in having this type of mixture of worlds. The flavor and vivacity of women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community and more add to the blandness of the typical white/cis/straight/male computer scientists found everywhere. I hope that our community can become truly inclusive and aware. Through Enigma, my mission is to showcase how Tufts CS intersects with the many other aspects of the Tufts experience. By understanding the different backgrounds we come from and supporting them, we become more aware of issues that affect our peers and, in turn, develop ourselves to be ready to make positive changes in the world.

One of the most frustrating parts of my experience with Tufts Computer Science is the lack of interest with social issues. Computer Science is inherently a very privileged world to live in, and it has been difficult to be surrounded by students who are so blind to problems in the world today. Through Enigma, I wish to repel this short-sightedness. How can we utilize our passion for computer science to help protesters in Baltimore or victims of the Nepal earthquake, for instance? By capitalizing on our talent and focusing on important social issues, we are combining these two critical areas and contributing to the idea of the conscious computer scientist.

 


By understanding the different backgrounds we come from and supporting them, we become more aware of issues that affect our peers and, in turn, develop ourselves to be ready to make positive changes in the world.


For the third issue of Enigma, our goal was to highlight the LGBTQ community’s role and its contributions to the CS world. We hope to give our STEM peers perspective, not only in regards to the realm of identity but also within itself as an interdisciplinary field. Therefore, please enjoy the LGBTQ++ issue of Enigma!

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Calvin Liang
Managing Editor.
Calvin Liang is a junior majoring in Engineering Psychology and minoring in Computer Science. He can be reached at calvin.liang@tufts.edu.

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