RA embraces questions to create community
For Chapman Pendery, a junior majoring in computer science, life is a series of questions to be answered. Chapman admits that nothing makes him happier than “the opportunity to have a new problem placed in front of [him].”
This innate drive to learn more stems from his family and friends. His parents instilled in him bravery in the face of the unknown, and encouraged him never to shy away from asking questions. As he grows and finds his community, Chapman surrounds himself with passionate people who drive him to be “a better person and a better learner.”
Chapman has found such a community in the Innovate Living Learning Community, housed in Pritchard Hall, where he was a Resident Advisor. His residents could often find him coding, both for academic and personal projects. And they could always, without a doubt, find Chapman discovering or exploring something new.
In high school, Chapman’s mentor told him that, “Life isn’t about changing the whole world, it’s about changing one person’s world.” It seems that Chapman has internalized those words as a mantra to positively impact the lives around him.
Recently, Chapman combined this mantra and his computing expertise to connect people in the real world. Chapman created a questionnaire for the residents of Pritchard in an attempt to open communication and foster new and lasting relationships. He even used the questionnaire to send out a “Pritchard Perfect Pair” activity on Valentine’s Day.
“Chapman’s enthusiasm for learning is contagious in itself,” said his nominator. In a building of 1,000 people, it can be challenging to create a sense of community. This project bridges the gap between what is considered academic learning and the residential experience.” Chapman’s programming sparked lasting conversation, and the residents of Pritchard could be overheard discussing the questionnaire for months after its publication.
In addition to his role as an RA, Chapman serves as an undergraduate teaching assistant in the computer science department, and is the SGA director of events. Chapman has interned with Mitre and the 1901 Group and conducted undergraduate research. He is a young man who has, throughout his life, consistently excelled in his own endeavors, and in helping with the endeavors of others.
Chapman plans to continue his education to obtain a Ph.D. In the meantime, he wants to continue to learn from the world, both informally and formally. Chapman is constantly researching new topics: from philosophy, to machine learning, to the perfect techniques in a game of pool. “I think it’s important to always develop the entirety of the person rather than just one aspect,” said Chapman.
Chapman said that curiosity is “the desire to never be content with one’s current knowledge.” And while his curiosity has taken him far already, Chapman vows to continue to learn from the world around him in his never-ending quest for answers.