December 16, 2018

University at Buffalo Computer Science Class of 2017


Hello, my name is Ben Michaels. I am a 22 year old software engineer focusing in Big Data analytics and also a native of Buffalo, NY. I just graduated from the University at Buffalo with a BS in computer science and a certificate in data intensive computing.

I played soccer for about 9 years, baseball for a little longer, and participated in middle school, high school, and club volleyball; during my senior year of high school, I was picked as a Second Team All Western New York player. I formerly held memberships in Swing Dance Club, Jam Club, Association for Computing Machinery, Robotics Club, and I was the former Sign Language club president.


I’ve been playing the guitar for about 7 years now, and the saxophone for about 11 years, not counting the break I took in the past year. I used to play video games religiously, sometimes for 12+ hours a day, until one night I woke up at 3:30AM, drenched in sweat, and came to a revelation that although video games were fun, they fundamentally made me unhappy by taking up my free time with nothing truly productive; therefore, they were ultimately a waste of my time. It’s been a little over 2 years since I boxed up my PS3 along with every game I had and sold it all on Craigslist. Please note that video games work for some people; they are good for relaxing and a great stress relieving tool. I just wanted to do something more experiential and tangible with my free time. I used the money I earned from my sale and bought a 1978 Honda Express NC-50 Moped. It is nothing short of amazing and was a great decision.


I’m not exactly sure what I’d like to do with this life, but whatever it is, I want it to be big. I like to dream about ginormous, gargantuan ideas that only the craziest, dumbest, most dedicated person/people could accomplish. It has been a long time dream of mine to travel the country (world?) in a van or small RV, in order to experience life and learn about the ways people live, thrive, and even despair. I would ideally incorporate computer science, thinking big, and traveling/learning about life abroad into one career, hopefully to make the world a better place. I’m not positive¬† how this will all turn out, but I will certainly try my best to make it a reality. After all, a large part of why I’m in computer science is not because I am necessarily good at it, rather, I believe it is a skill that has the most potential to make the largest impact on the greatest number of people. I strongly believe technology can solve many, if not most, of the world’s problems.


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