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Student Snapshot: Guoxuan “Allan” Chi ’20

Guo "Allan" Chi '20, a double major in computer science and psychology.

Guoxuan “Allan” Chi ’20 found an ideal combination when he adopted a double major in computer science and psychology. Below, he discusses what led him to that decision as well as how he selected Dickinson from his home on the other side of the world, the seemingly tailor-made course he took as a study-abroad student in Copenhagen, the caring relationships he’s had with faculty and his internship in the Language and Cognitive Development Lab at the University of California, Berkeley.

Hometown:

Shenyang, Liaoning, China.

Majors:

Computer science and psychology.

Clubs and organizations:  

Math & CS Club, Chess Club and Chinese Students and Scholars Association.

Honors/scholarships/awards:

Psi Chi Honor Society, Upsilon Pi Epsilon Honor Society, John Montgomery ScholarshipHugh B. & Helen K. Woodward Scholarship and Stephen D. Benson '56 Senior Prize in Psychology.

Favorite movie:

Bridge to Terabithia.

The best thing about my Dickinson experience so far:

It’s great getting to know so many friendly faculty who genuinely care about me. I’ve really enjoyed having classes with them as well. Outside of the classroom, I was happy that Dickinson created such a diverse environment where I could connect with people from different backgrounds.

As I kid, I wanted to be …

a detective.

On choosing my major:

When I first came to Dickinson, I did not know exactly what major to pursue. Back then, I thought that a lot of Chinese international students choose business as their major, so I chose to take Introduction to Business. I was also naturally curious about people’s thoughts and emotions, so I chose to take a psychology class as well. My parents told me that having a computer science (CS) major would be practical and useful (and I agreed). Therefore, I took a CS class too. After taking all these courses, I realized that I really enjoyed learning psychology, and I am not bad at computer science! This led me to choose both psychology and computer science as my two majors.

On choosing Dickinson:

As an international student who spent the first 18 years of his life on the other side of the earth, I only heard about some big universities in the U.S., so I started by applying to major public universities. Later, I heard about liberal-arts colleges, which intrigued me a lot. Since I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study, I decided to go to a liberal-arts college to explore my interests. Dickinson’s emphasis on interdisciplinary education and global engagement and its generous scholarships eventually led me here.

Favorite place on campus:

The lower level in Althouse.

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Poke bowl bar.

On studying abroad:

I studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, for a semester. My core course was cyberpsychology, which was a perfect combination of my two majors: computer science and psychology. In this class, we discussed the influence of modern technology on people of different ages and how human beings build relationships with machines. It was such a fascinating and forward-looking class. My class traveled to Ireland to visit the birthplace of cyberpsychology and some of the pioneers in the field. Outside of academia, I was an official blogger for the program, and if you are interested in my stories with my lovely Danish host family, please check out my blog. You will see more details about my cyberpsychology course, the Danish way of celebrating birthdays and souvenirs you should get if you ever go to Copenhagen.

Little-known hobby/talent:

I spent two years learning to play drums at Dickinson.

Proudest accomplishment so far:

In high school, I attended a nationwide Model U.N. conference as an alternate, because the original student could not attend. I did not know what Model U.N. was until a month before the conference. There were around 600 delegates at the conference, and I was among 30 who won Best Delegate (highest prize).

About my internship:

In summer 2019, I interned at the Language and Cognitive Development Lab at UC Berkeley as a research assistant. I applied for this internship because of my interests in psychological research and my curiosity about professional research institutions. During my two-month internship, I worked with a graduate student who was doing research in children’s and adults’ perceptions of math. Among many of the exciting things I did, my favorite was going to the Lawrence Hall of Science (a UC Berkeley science museum) for data collection. I was giving away cool stickers in exchange for kids’ and their parents’ participation in our experiments. I enjoyed introducing children and their parents to research projects that they could help contribute to. My biggest takeaway from this internship was a piece of advice my excellent mentor gave: Always bring a notebook to meetings and write down your assignments.

Post-Dickinson plans:

I am going to join the Technology Advisory Program at EY (Ernst & Young), where I will utilize the skills I learned through both my psychology and computer science courses to do technology consulting. I am very interested in user-experience research, and I hope that I will be able to join some related projects. My office will be in Tysons Corner, Virginia.

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Published May 4, 2020