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Posted 10/28/02, by James Donnelly
Computer science may appear to some people to be a solitary endeavor, but in truth it is an extremely collaborative discipline. One example is the work of Thomas H. Cormen, associate professor in computer science, and Christiana "Cricket" Toomey '04, a Dartmouth sophomore and an engineering major.
Cormen is the coauthor of Introduction to Algorithms, the top college textbook on algorithms used by students across the country. When he needed help updating a few older programs to run on the newest and fastest computers, he found Toomey through Dartmouth's Women in Science Project. "It was a project I'd been meaning to get to for a long time, and I needed someone who could push it along," says Cormen. "Cricket was able to do the work and seemed more than willing to keep the project on track, even when my time was at a premium."
"I was actually looking for an internship outside of engineering," says Toomey. She adds that she had some experience in computer science prior to taking on the internship, but nothing on par with the tasks Cormen assigned. She spent weeks learning how to use the tools to work with the software. The project itself will continue for at least another six months.
"This internship helped me to overcome [my fears] and also gave me the chance to participate firsthand in research," says Toomey. She notes that Cormen has become a valued advisor whom she can approach with questions beyond those relating to computer science. Cormen says that with many students, mentorship extends after the immediate project, and often beyond graduation.
- James Donnelly
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