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Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Harvard Shop Takes CS50

"I took CS50." The phrase, often emblazoned onto a navy t-shirt, is one that's familiar with many a Harvard student. Enrollees in Computer Science 50, an intensive introduction course to computer science and one of Harvard's trademark classes, wear it proudly around campus after finishing the semester. Enrollment has risen dramatically in past years as students are being drawn by both the invaluable technical skills the course offers, as well as the uniquely quirky and young culture for which the class is famous. As an alum of the course myself, I can safely say that CS50 is far more than just a class: it's an experience. One that spans both unimaginable triumph (i.e., when your code compiles) and the occasional heartbreak (i.e., when a rogue parenthesis drives you to insanity); and one that is shared by a community of curious individuals who aren't afraid to be challenged and learn a completely new skill, while having fun along the way. (Check out their website here!)

The CS50 staff, as it turns out, is all about creating that experience. Over the summer, we visited their office, which could only be described as a cross between a sleek innovation space and a playground. Gleaming Mac computers lined the desktops and whiteboards filled with idea brainstorms abounded, while Angry Bird-themed stuffed animals sat crossly on a shelf and Super Mario stickers adorned the walls. Front-and-center in the lounge was a Rock Band setup, to the side of which was a pantry filled with the most wonderful treats known to man (chocolates, cheese balls, chips, and the like). "They really threw us in for a loop," THS Managing Director Ryley Reynolds '15, trying her hand at a CS pun.

So meet the people behind the magic! Join the CS50 staff R.J. Aquino '14, Robert Bowden '13, Ben Shryock '14, Joseph Ong '14, Lauren Carvalho '11, and Milo Banana (a golden retriever!) as they model The Harvard Shop team's picks for this fall!