Student: Matthew Lewis
As the spring semester commences, many East Carolina University seniors are preparing to graduate in May, each with a unique story of triumph and perseverance. Among them is Matthew Lewis, a computer science student from Raleigh.
Starting in high school, Lewis had a natural affinity for computer science. He had the opportunity to take programming classes that taught him the basics of Adobe programs and coding. His journey began with a fervent curiosity that evolved into a relentless pursuit of knowledge.
“There was a specific computer science course that we had in my high school, and I remember taking it and really understanding it very easily and enjoying it,” he said.
From the moment he stepped onto campus four years ago, Lewis embraced a holistic approach to his education. While his coursework laid the foundation for his technical skills, he recognized the importance of gaining practical experience in the rapidly evolving landscape of computer science.
“Especially in the tech field, I definitely think it’s important to get experience in the field,” Lewis said. “So when I graduate, I want to work in the field.”
Over his time at the university, Lewis has committed to gaining the wealth of real-world experience through hands-on positions, paving the way for a promising career in the ever-evolving field of computer science. One of the most impactful experiences was an internship at Hewlett Packard during his junior year.
“It was a little nerve-wracking,” Lewis said. “I didn’t have much introduction to technology, and I was going into a tech company. But it was very fun. I was on a team of interns, and I had the opportunity to learn different technologies and discovered how to learn them quickly.”
A key aspect of computer sciences is the rapid evolution of computing equipment and hardware in which one must be well-versed. This can prove to challenging with the constant advancement of technology systems.
“It’s definitely a commitment that you have to be attached to because it moves so fast,” Lewis said. “You need to be looking at the next thing before it’s even being made. So, it’s definitely a field where you need to be on top of it. Here at ECU, they teach a self-learning strategy because they know they can’t teach everything you’re going to learn in the field, so they try and get you ready for any kind of technologies.”
Through the collaborative atmosphere of his internship, Lewis was able to ask questions of people with more technical experience.
“I wanted to gain as much experience as I could from them,” Lewis said. “Also just working as a team and working on presenting skills because that’s one thing a lot of tech students are not great at, so it was nice to get the chance to practice.”
Early in his undergraduate career, Lewis struggled getting involved on campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He soon found out about the student chapter of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) and served as the webmaster before being promoted to the chair.
“I got to meet a bunch of different people there, which built a network of people that led me to many other positions,” Lewis said.
In addition to serving as the chair of the ACM, he also is an undergraduate teaching assistant in the Department of Computer Science and tutors students daily.
“Teaching is definitely fun,” Lewis said. “I do have a growing passion for teaching. I think I’ve done it for enough time now where maybe later in my life it might be a possibility to come back and teach.”
Looking ahead, Lewis envisions a future where he can continue to merge his passion for computer science with his interest in the business side of tech. He hopes to one day get his master’s degree from ECU and has even considered a doctoral degree.
“I definitely want my master’s — we will see about a Ph.D. — but I’ve enjoyed the computer science department here. I’ve learned to love it over the past four years for sure,” Lewis said.
Equipped with a diverse skill set, a strong network of mentors and colleagues, and an in-depth comprehension of computer science’s practical applications, he is eager to make a big impact on the rapidly changing technology industry.
Name: Matthew Lewis
College: College of Engineering and Technology
Major: Computer science
Hobbies/interests: Hanging out with friends, watching movies and TV shows, and history
Clubs and Organizations: Association for Computing Machinery
Favorite hangout: My house
Favorite place on campus: Austin, Room 209
Favorite place to eat: Chick-fil-A
Favorite class: Principles of Programming Languages
Professor who influenced you the most: Dr. Qin Ding and Jennifer Andriot
Favorite TV show: “Psych”
Favorite band/musician: Lil Yachty and juno
Favorite movie: “2 Fast 2 Furious”
Favorite app: TikTok
Dream job: Software engineer
Role model: My dad
Your words to live by: “Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.”
What advice do you have for other students? Reach out to your professors and get to know fellow students early on. It’s a great way to make your academic journey more enjoyable and fulfilling and build connections that can help in your future career. Plus, you never know what kind of lifelong friends you might make along the way!
What is something cool about ECU that you wish you knew during your first year? I wish I knew about the resources and job opportunities available on campus. These jobs can help improve skills while being mindful of a busy schedule. Additionally, they provide an opportunity to work with professors. Your specific college also provides opportunities such as research and teaching assistantships.