Geek of the Week: Max Mazzochhi, Sophomore, Comp Sci

Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of geeks who know how to be social and this week’s geek, Max Mazzocchi, certainly fits the bill. You may find him roaming Bradford Hall as its first floor RA or running to and from swing dancing or the Ballroom Dance club. You may also find him staring at a computer screen as he works out his latest program for the Urban Gaming club, or just walking around the school on his nineteenth cup of coffee because he has not slept in two days. Despite his busy schedule, the Oredigger Newspaper has managed to steal Mazzocchi away from his responsibilities to find out how he does it all.

[Oredigger] Are you a geek and why?
[Mazzocchi] I am definitely a geek. I think being a Comp Sci major automatically qualifies me, but I also read comics and am a webcomic fanatic and I want to be a superhero someday.

Why did you go for Computer Science?
I started programming my senior year of high school. I just really liked it. I actually started programming on a TI-83 as a sophomore. I love programming calculators. But yeah, I love programming and it’s been a good major for me.

What’s been your favorite class?
I’m really enjoying my Parallel Computing class. It’s kinda a tough class but I like the challenge that’s behind it. It’s a lot of programs I’m really interested in.

Do you have any free time and if so, how do you use it?
No. I have no free time. I’m in Urban Gaming Club, Ballroom Dance Club, I’m on the swing dance team, I’m an RA, and I’m taking a lot of credits, so I don’t have much free time. What I do to relax is go to Ballroom Dance and dance a lot and if I have any
spare moments, I’ll read webcomics a lot.

What would you say are some of your greatest accomplishments to date?
The Humans vs. Zombies system. Kate Lyssy came up to me our freshman year and said “You wanna start Humans vs. Zombies?” and I said “Yeah!” At the time, I knew nothing about HTML or PEARL or CGI and I just built [the system] from scratch… now three hundred people use it every semester. Also, being on the swing team. We’ve accomplished a lot and it shows. We got second place in the Intercollegiate Swing Battle spring semester of last year.

How would you deal with a run-in with a Decepticon?
That really depends on where I am. I’d try to find transportation and book it to Denver or the next biggest city ’cause that’s where the Autobots will be hanging out. If I can’t find any Autobots, I’d try to break into a power plant and try to shock [the Decepticon’s] system.

If you could be dropped into any fictional setting, what would it be and why?
[My] first choice would be the “Firefly” universe ’cause that would be amazing and I wanna be in “Firefly.” I wanna be an intergalactic smuggler. Also, the Marvel universe if I could have superpowers. That’d be a lot of fun. I wouldn’t want to be in the DC universe.

What’s the coolest thing about Mines?
Probably how we all have really different personalities but we’re all geeks at heart. We all have sorta the same science and math background and we’ve all been through kind of the same thing, so we all have something to relate to. There’s just so many people to talk to and so much you can learn. I just love the people at Mines. I think they’re awesome.

Why did you decide to become an RA and what do you like about the job?
I really like working with people and I love meeting and getting to know people and making friends. I love the residents and the staff and I love getting to build these relationships. That’s what really makes it all worth it.

Do you have any plans for your future?
I’m really just hoping for a job. I love to code and I think that’s what I’ll be doing, but I really have no plans, so I hope I’m still coding and still around people and I can find something. And still dancing.

What’s the worst part about Mines?
Probably how far away it is from my hometown, which is in Pennsylvania. Even though I’ve built a home here, it’s still fifteen hundred miles away.

Which would you rather have – the powers and equipment of a Jedi or Sith or the powers and abilities of the Green Lantern?
Green Lantern. I like the ability to create anything. I’d rather have [that] than Jedi or Sith powers. I like the idea of creating more than [having] powers.

Do you have any advice for fellow geeks and Mines students?
Don’t give up. This school is tough and definitely hits you right off the bat, especially if you have physics. Realize that it’s okay to drop classes and take them twice; we all have to do it. Just tough it out and it’ll be worth it in the end.

What’s the best or funniest nerd moment you’ve seen or been a part of?
I really liked during the HvZ info sessions the person who brought foam Wolverine claws. That was probably the coolest thing I’ve seen at and HvZ meeting. And they wouldn’t let me play with them.

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