Commencement 2024: Meet Cameron Abplanalp

Graduating senior Cameron Abplanalp wants to utilize his education to investigate the bridge between people and code.

From Evanston, Illinois, Abplanalp will graduate this spring with a Bachelor of Science in Data Science and Information Science, with a certificate in Computer Sciences.

“Studying data science, information science, and computer science has taught me how to pick up difficult technical concepts quickly and implement them to solve problems. I’m not a computer, but learning how to think like one has allowed me to cognitively mature and view the world with an anything-is-possible heuristic,” says Abplanalp.

Abplanalp spent much of his childhood visiting Madison with his family and felt at home at the University of Wisconsin, even before becoming a student. When he began his journey as a student, he was unsure of what he wanted to study but knew the university would help him thrive educationally.

“I knew that no matter which path I chose, I would be able to get a strong and meaningful education here, which turned out to be exactly right Now, I know that UW-Madison has lived up to those expectations. It has supported me and given me a comprehensive education across CDIS fields,” says Abplanalp.

He originally became interested in data science because of the gravity that data has in decision-making and declared the major in his sophomore year.

“Before I declared data science I had never coded, but I always knew data was the future and that I loved problem solving. I decided coding experience wasn’t a big enough reason to stop me from declaring a data science major,” says Abplanalp.

While he was studying data science, he found himself wanting a more human-centered approach to education. At the same time, the Information Science (iSci) major was being developed.

“ Early on, I often found myself asking questions that couldn’t be answered by a for loop and realized that I wanted a way to connect what I was learning into impactful, people-centered answers. Around the same time, the iSci major came to fruition. Information Science taught me on day one to differentiate between the concept of data and information and I realized that obtaining information was very different from data,” says Abplanalp.

He discovered he enjoyed gathering information through technical skills and decided to take high-level programming courses to fulfill the Computer Sciences certificate.

“Overall, I wanted my education to be a foundation for me to investigate the bridge between people and code; a complex goal that changed and developed during my time at UW–Madison,” says Abplanalp.

Abplanalp also worked as a Research Computing Facilitator Assistant at the Center for High Throughput Computing (CHTC). CHTC is an internationally recognized entity housed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences that specializes in translational computer science enabling researchers with open capacity.

“Working at CHTC has complimented my CDIS education by allowing me to explore what I’ve learned academically through implementation in a unique research computing environment on campus,” says Abplanalp. “Developing at CHTC in this way has allowed me to learn in a way that simply couldn’t have been possible in the classroom. CHTC has been a wonderful contributor to the pursuit of my goals, and I’ve built professional relationships with the research computing facilitation team on campus which I’ll never forget.”

After graduation, Abplanalp is looking for a position that will allow him to continue the hands-on learning experiences he found at UW–Madison.

“I want to start a career that will be meaningful and reflective of what my goal has developed into over my time at UW–Madison. I am hoping to find a position and company that reflects my personal values and will allow me to continue learning through experience,” says Abplanalp. “No matter what, I’m always going to be interested in the pursuit of knowledge, especially in such a rapidly developing field.”

Abplanalp will take many fond memories with him from his time at UW–Madison, from attending sporting events to swimming in Lake Mendota to walking from Memorial Union to Picnic Point.

“The city of Madison has given me experiences that I’ll never forget; experiences that have shaped me into the person I am today,” says Abplanalp.