Spotlight – Erica Hanson

Erica HansonA Coventry, RI resident, Erica Hanson is a fourth year BA in Computer Science finishing her degree this May along with a double minor in Italian and the Classics.

She has an extensive background in web design that she started early on. At 16, she had already earned a position at the Naval War College in Newport, RI, editing websites and later on training officers on how to update their own.

At URI’s computer science department, she found herself gravitating towards web development especially after taking COM 271, Web Design and Programming. This class is one of the introduction courses to the Web Development track one can specialize in within the department.

This past summer, she worked on a programming project using Java to building a graphical user interface. This further strengthened her interest in visual design. Wanting to delve deeper, she also took CSC 272, Dynamic Web Design and Programming, which deals with server side manipulation, and CSC 436, Data Management Systems, where she learned how to program in PHP and use MySQL. With these components, she can now confidently work not only with user-end interfaces but also with designing back-end products.

Career-wise, she plans on pursuing a position as a database administrator and web developer where she can build upon the skills she has. “I think it’s a fun job; I get to do something a little bit different every day.”

On top of her computer science projects, Erica also found the time to complete two minors – Italian and the Classics. She started studying Italian in high school, where she also received a scholarship for her linguistic aptitude. She took two semester of Latin, building more on her ability to learn new syntaxes, which is also key to learning new programming languages. She was also a member of URI’s Cultural Italian American Organization (CIAO) for two years.

“The CS department here at URI is awesome. Everyone’s very helpful and I love the new lab.” Erica enjoys her time within the department, saying it’s not too big and it is easy to get to know everyone. “It was a great experience, having the opportunity to take computer science classes when those weren’t available in my high school.

After graduation, Erica plans on applying for government jobs such as within the Navy to start her career in web design and development.