Studying computer science and mathematics to give back to society

LP - Peter MahonI had a tough time in middle and high school. My mom found a home cheap enough for her to afford; we were poor, and the school was very middle class. I realized I was really good at mathematics, and eventually, I took some computer science classes that I also enjoyed. I wanted to pursue them further in college, but there was no way my family nor I could afford it. Needing to do something, I enlisted in the Marine Corps for five years (and again for another four). It was refreshing to be with such a diverse group of people — different social classes and ethnicities, people from various areas of the country with unique accents and, in some cases, dialects.

During my first enlistment, I worked on helicopters. It was technical and very demanding. Most importantly, it required me to understand all of the engine, transmission, prop rotor and related systems. When I flew in the aircraft, my job was to troubleshoot – to picture what the problem was and think of all of the ways I could go about repairing it.

When I enlisted a second time, my job shifted to an even more specialized aircraft – the MV-22 Osprey. Essentially, it is a flying computer. The technical knowledge was even more cumbersome than the first, but I excelled at it. I also took on administrative duties. Bored with regular data input, I devised ways to perform the work faster – if I held my mouse in this one spot, hit Tab a few times and then pressed the space bar, clicked where the mouse was, typed a few words and hit Enter, voila! Eventually, I learned macros to expedite my job.

My biggest takeaway from that second enlistment is that I realized I enjoy solving problems and optimizing the way things are done. That is the embodiment of computer science. Furthermore, I believe I will be adding to my toolset of skills thanks to my extensive mathematics background.

When I graduate, I hope to take my skillset and apply it to something that I feel will give back to society. I’m not sure if that’s in biomechanics or health care – I’m not sure where these skills will take me, but I’m ready to take on whatever challenge comes my way.

We are proud to announce Peter Mahon is one of the current LatPro Scholarship finalists. Vote for his essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column) and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

11 comments…

  • avatar

    Francheska irizarry July 2, 2016, 11:58 am

    Hope you get the scholarship. It was a great read and you were a fantastic teacher!

    Reply
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    Sheree Rauner July 2, 2016, 2:06 pm

    Determined young man, raised by a single mother, who worked hard to make something of himself, with the bravery to put his own life on the line to serve his country for 9 years; not to mention the fact that he is excited to learn. I cannot think of anyone else who would be more deserving of this scholarship.

    Reply
  • avatar

    Dan July 2, 2016, 2:47 pm

    I served with Pete, he is an excellent Marine and an exceptional leader.

    Reply
  • avatar

    David Olsen July 3, 2016, 12:54 am

    I have had the pleasure of knowing Peter Mahon for six years. I don’t need to spend any time here explaining his skills in math and in critical thinking, that can easily be judged. What I’d like to share is my thorough respect for Peter’s sense of compassion, justice, and empathy. His even temperament, and calm nature compliments his sense of adventure and fun. Peter Mahon is not only exceptionally bright, he’s genuinely a good person to his core. I feel my life has been enhanced by getting to know Peter, and I believe any group would benefit by his presence.
    I highly endorse him to receive the LatPro scholarship. I believe Peter is true to his word in his desire to help others, and we all benefit when people like Peter achieve their full potential.
    Thank you,
    David Olsen

    Reply
  • avatar

    Elizabeth Montour July 3, 2016, 1:19 am

    Pete is one of the most courageous people I know. He acknowledges the hardship he’s experienced as source of strength that has enabled him to excel in some very difficult disciplines. He has an uncommonly genuine, kind and thoughtful manner about him, and it is these qualities, along with his incredible skill set and intelligence, that will certainly help him succeed in anything he chooses to do.

    Reply
  • avatar

    John Cuccolo July 3, 2016, 3:13 am

    For starters ,a young man who has proven
    to be highly motivated not afraid of hard
    work willing to and give back to to his country
    I believe a 9 yr Veteran of the U.S Marine
    Corp has earned his right to this scholarship.
    At a time when people express their appreciation to our Youngmen and Woman
    The time is now to walk the walk if anyone
    Needs a hand up it’s this young man.
    To our servicemen

    Reply
    • avatar

      John Cuccolo July 3, 2016, 3:40 am

      For starters, a young man who has proven already to be highly motivated not afraid to
      Give back to his Country.
      I believe a 9 yr. Veteran of the U.S Marine
      Corp has earned a right to to be considered
      For this scholarship. At a time when people
      Saying how they appreciate the sacrifice
      Of our young men and woman the time is
      Now to walk the walk and show this young
      Man and give him that hand up492

      Reply
  • avatar

    Carol Keeney July 3, 2016, 5:09 am

    I have known Peter Mahon Jr’s family my whole life…and his Aunt Patsy, is my best friend. The family are tight knit, and like all of us, have gone through trials and tribulations. We all have a story! I always keep the Mahon family in my prayers, all the boys and their dads, and Lauren, I think she is the only girl, out of all the cousins! I really hope Peter gets his scholarship…so determined and it is so costly to get a good education…and we are relying the this generation, to make the world a better place, for future generations to come! I truly believe his is deserving. I have a friend that teaches Auto Tech, and the group of kids he is teaching, are sadly…not interested. Their education is being paid for by the state, and they do NOT want to be in the classroom…and look forward to getting out and skateboarding! Not that you can’t make a living skateboarding, but you’d better have a back up! Peter seems dedicated to his career choice! I pray he is honored with a scholarship! Best regards; Carol Keeney

    Reply
  • avatar

    Connie July 3, 2016, 5:24 pm

    Peter Mahon is one of the finest human beings I have had the privilege to watch grow. Knowing him since his childhood, he has always been very kind, polite, & took his studies seriously… He is in tune with people, & has a contagious smile that just makes you feel better. The world is a better place with him in it & I am confident he will take this scholarship & learn, grow, & contribute to the science field.

    Reply
  • avatar

    Yvette July 4, 2016, 2:01 am

    Peter is my baby brother. We have an 8yr difference between us. I watched this young man grow, changed his diaper and wiped his tears. I am a very proud sister of such an amazing man. He has fought his whole life to always achieve the goals he has set for himself. He’s a hard working individual with an amazing passion of life and knowledge. Growing up things weren’t always easy. Pete found a way to brighten everyone’s day. We also share a baby sister, Kristin Mahon. Pete was and has always been a protector. He would guard over our sister and not let anyone touch her without his consent. It was a very cute thing. But I knew then the kind of man he’d become. When he joined the marines it was only befitting. He served his country well, was even hurt during one of his training sequences. He’s over come so much in his life. If ever there was anyone that was deserving of this scholarship it’s this wonderful man right here, whom I’m very proud to call my brother.

    Reply
  • avatar

    Barbara August 8, 2016, 1:52 pm

    I have know Peter his whole life, he is one of the nicest caring people I know. His love of family, friends & country is what makes him so special. He has worked long & hard to get where he is today. He deserves the extra help & hopefully will help make our world a better place. Good luck Pete, saying extra prayers for you.

    Reply

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