TA Spotlight: Calen Robinette

Every other week we spotlight an OMSCS TA, so you can get to know who's behind the screen. Here are four questions for Calen Robinette who TAs CS 6290: High Performance Computer Architecture.


What do you do professionally?
I'm lucky enough to be able to be a full-time student, so beyond working as a TA, I'm free to focus on my studies. I have zero prior software engineering experience, and I'm hoping to use my degree from OMSCS to pivot into the tech industry.

Why do you TA for OMSCS?
I like to teach! I tutored a bit during my undergrad and have usually taken a teaching role in past jobs, so it made sense to apply to be a TA as soon as I completed my core class requirement. Also, I think this program is truly amazing at how much it relies on the students to shape and grow it; I definitely wanted to give back.

What's your advice for future students in OMSCS?
Look ahead and plan. Due to the online nature, no one is going to hold you accountable, so you have to make your own systems that work for you. During my first term, I didn't think the projects in GIOS would be that bad and ended up pulling two all-nighters to try and get it done in time. I now plan out my entire term on day one and look at projects the day they come out to create a road map.

What's your preferred programming language, and why?
C++ because I really enjoy being forced to understand why things work. I would answer with plain C, but I do enjoy some of the conveniences of objects, strings and vectors. Plus, because of working with C++ in GIOS, I've gotten comfortable enough to start contributing to open-source projects writing drivers!