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Alex S Dead Matter image

Above, a scene from ‘Dead Matter,’ a computer game that Alexander Switzer '18 helps to develop.

Senior Serves Engineering Internship, Develops Computer Game

08/16/17

Alex Switzer mugIn high school, Alexander Switzer ’18 of Brooklyn, N.Y., found humanities far easier than math, so he never thought of studying computer science in college. That is, until he arrived at MCLA. Now poised to start his senior year, he just wrapped up a stint this summer as an “LCS (Littoral Combat Ship) Systems Integration Intern Engineer” with General Dynamics in Pittsfield, Mass.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg: Switzer co-develops a zombie survival sandbox game, “Dead Matter,” which recently broke $200,000 CAD (Canadian Dollars) via crowd funding.

Because math is not his strong suit, Switzer first thought his options in computer science might be limited. “Thankfully, this was not the case,” he said. Lectures at MCLA are refreshing and to the point, he added, and also include an emphasis on hands-on experience and on-the-fly programming.

At General Dynamics, “I was able to demonstrate and test all of the knowledge I gained throughout my time at MCLA,” Switzer said. “It’s great to witness firsthand what an education can bring in terms of opportunity and experience. I enjoyed every moment of my internship as a result of my broad spectrum of knowledge.”

Alex S at eventThe internship was just one opportunity Switzer has benefitted from as an MCLA student. His college experience began the summer before his freshman year, at the College’s Berkshire Bank STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Academy. He went on to serve as a STEM Fellow for the Academy.

Recently, he helped to organize an event attended by nearly 200 mechanical keyboard enthusiasts in New York City (see photo, right), which was “something that I'd never imagined doing when I first got out of high school,” Switzer said.

He also helped co-found the virtual reality laboratory in MCLA’s  Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation. “The student jobs that I've held on campus pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me to better myself,” Switzer said.

“On top of all this, I was able to use my unique blend of knowledge to assist in developing ‘Dead Matter,’” he explained. “These opportunities would not have been possible without the guidance of my peers and professors.”

According to Switzer, MCLA is a great starting point for the sought-after career in field of computer science. “The cost, in comparison to other programs, is definitely a major plus, and I found myself to be much more well-rounded and knowledgeable than some of the people I interned with,” who attended other colleges.

This year, he plans to return to General Dynamics during school breaks to continue his internship. After he graduates next May, Switzer will be well prepared with very valuable experience, thanks to MCLA. “I will be a serious contender when it comes to highly sought-out, entry-level jobs within my field.”

To learn more about “Dead Matter,” go to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/qisoftware/dead-matter.