Colton Reed, '21

Colton Reed, Computer Science

By Caitlin Hofen

The bright red numbers glow across the room, reading 3:38 a.m. Colton Reed is working through the night and early morning to complete the final coding assignment for his computer science class. Drowsiness takes over and his head falls forward, visions of commands and outputs blur together from his computer screen. He startles himself awake and glances at the clock: 4:22 a.m. Reed shakes the tiredness from his thoughts and powers through to the end. His program successfully reads various barcodes, like that of a grocery store scanner.
“Once I finished that last coding final, I celebrated with the best breakfast I had ever had,” said Reed.
Reed, ’21, is a computer science major hailing from Sweetwater, Okla.
“Math was always my best subject in school. I’m very interested in computers, coding especially, so I chose it as my major.”
Coding is programing a computer with a series of commands to produce a desired outcome, like that of a website or app.
“Usually when I code, I make either a game or a path selection, like a register. My favorite part is when I have my friends run my code to see that it works for someone else besides me. It’s such a good feeling to see your program finished and running.”
Outside of the classroom, Reed is active in many organizations on campus, including cross country, rocketry and choir.
A member of the choir program for four years, Reed has performed a variety of music in a multitude of venues. He even tried his hand at acting when the Northwestern Chorale was a part of the Northwestern Theatre production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
“One of my favorite things to do is hang out with my friends, and being involved on campus allows me to do that. The relationships I’ve made at Northwestern have convinced me to stay and continue pursuing my education here.
“The professors at Northwestern are personable. Many of my professors have open office hours and will answer any question I ask. My computer science professors are more focused on their students knowing the material and how to do it than turning something in on time and not knowing how they got there.”
With plans to either join the Air Force or repair computers, Reed has many goals for his final semester at Northwestern.
“Northwestern is a good school to get your education. I have zero student loans and I know that I am prepared to go out and get a job without worrying about paying back any debt. No matter which job I pursue, I’m ready to use the knowledge I gained here and use it the rest of my life.”


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