Name: Ashtaan Rapanos
Major(s:) Computer science and criminal justice
Hometown: Midland, Michigan
What do you love most about computer science?
My favorite thing about computer science is that technology is used in pretty much every industry out there, so the career possibilities are endless. Going into college I wasn’t completely sure of my interests and where I wanted to be after graduation, but with computer science I knew I had a lot of choices and could take my time deciding. The job security is a nice perk too!
What is your favorite thing about MSU?
I love the school spirit… there are many times I’ve been walking down the street in a different state (or even Ann Arbor) wearing something with the MSU logo and someone will yell “Go Green!” There are people that love MSU everywhere you go!
What kind of activities have you been involved in?
I was the sponsorship director for SpartaHack 2017 and 2018, MSU’s student-run hack-a-thon that brings together high school and college students and industry professionals for a weekend of coding, creating, and learning about computer science. I was in charge of the sponsors for the event and I met a lot of insanely smart, interesting people through it! I also was involved in Engineers Without Borders and got to spend my freshman year spring break in New York City with friends helping with disaster relief from Hurricane Sandy.
What draws you to criminal justice?
I’m drawn to criminal justice because there is so much potential for change in our current system. Some of the problems are slowly being recognized thanks to the media, which has started to drive change, but there is a lot more that needs to be done and change doesn’t happen overnight. The criminal justice system directly impacts people’s lives every day, and I want to be a part of making it better.
What internships have you had?
For the past two years I have been working with Aptiv, an automotive supplier, as a cybersecurity engineer intern. I work to secure Aptiv’s products, which end up in cars made by Ford, GM, Chrysler, etc. No one wants someone else taking over their car and driving them off the road… so we try to make sure that can’t happen.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation I’ll be working for Aptiv on the same team I’ve been with for two years, and hopefully relocating somewhere in the metro-Detroit area.
As a senior, what advice would you give to a freshman?
My biggest piece of advice would be to take advantage of the resources in your department. They offer career advising, job recruiting opportunities, seminars about life after college, and a lot of other things. I didn’t take advantage of these until my senior year, and I wish I would have done it sooner. I also met people and made friends with the same interests as mine by spending more time at these events.
What is your favorite book(s) and why?
My favorite book is forever changing, but one I love that I just recently read is “Rabbit,” an autobiography of Patricia Williams (Ms. Pat.) Ms. Pat is a comedian so the book had me laughing constantly, but it also was an uplifting and inspirational story about how she came from nothing and dealt with a lot of hardships and still made it to where she is today.
What are your top three favorite songs at the moment?
“Psycho” by Post Malone, “Rollercoaster” by Bleachers and “King’s Dead” by Kendrick Lamar.