MCS Alumni Profile: Betsy Langowski

Posted on September 13th, 2017 by

Tell us about yourself.

I graduated from Gustavus in 2008 with degrees in Mathematics and Communication Studies. I am currently working at Apple Inc. as an engineering manager. I manage a team called Binary Compatibility. It’s comprised of developers and QA engineers whose job it is to test third-party apps on unreleased software and hardware and ensure those apps aren’t broken on an API level. When we find an issue, we identify which framework is at fault and fix it.

How did the MCS department help you get where you are today?

It taught me how to solve big problems by first solving the smaller problems around them. While I haven’t had to do a proof for years, I use those same skills daily. Managing an engineering team in silicon valley and working through our daily sets of challenges is a lot like writing a proof; you start with the obvious, and when that doesn’t get you anywhere you go off into the weeds and stumble across some nugget that makes the obvious seem antiquated and the outrageous seem inevitable. QED.

What is your favorite memory or memories of the MCS department?

There are two major categories that my memories fall into. 1. The MCS department supported me when I made the decision to do the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program. That was truly life changing, and I couldn’t have done it without the help and encouragement from the faculty, who really challenged me and made sure I was ready for the curriculum. 2. I took a lot of classes with Jeff Rosoff, and he was the one who taught me how to learn. Sometimes he would fly into class and holler at us to close our textbooks because he thought of a problem while he was in the shower and he needed our help to solve it. We’d spend the day working together to figure out the amount of area two ants with a string tied to them would scoop out on an x-y axis if they each moved at different tangential velocities, or some other obscure mind game. Did this teach me Advanced Linear Algebra? Maybe, maybe not, but it DID teach me how to find the answers to a problem when the breadcrumbs weren’t merely a chapter behind me in the textbook.

Anything else you would like to add or mention?

I would strongly encourage students to pair a humanities major with their scientific or technical major. While it seems rather soft, honing your ability to see the world in something other than mathematical absolutes was incredibly beneficial for me, plus I’ve been much more employable since I’ve shown I can think critically and also communicate about it.

 

Thanks for the update Betsy. It’s good to hear from you, and keep up the great work at Apple Inc.

If you would like to let the MCS department know what you are up to you can do so by clicking here. We would love to hear from you.

 

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