Ask Mark Harris what a typical day in his life is like, and he will say that he enjoys hanging out with friends, fishing, or playing video games. He sounds like an average college student, only instead of simply playing video games, Harris plans to one day program them.
In high school, Harris realized his interest in electronics.
"Growing up playing video games, it's what I do. Why not study it and make a living off of it?” he said.
Harris grew up in Millington, a small town near Memphis and discovered UT Martin after a close friend of his decided to attend the university. He chose the university because of the smaller class sizes and more focused attention on individual students.
Harris assisted with setting up audio and visuals while in high school, and though the tasks were much simpler than his current classwork, he knew he wanted to continue his studies in computer science.
Ultimately Harris's dream is to one day be a video game programmer, but his interest in computer science is not limited to video games. A degree in computer science offers an increasing number of avenues to pursue.
"Any kind of programming will do, a calculator programmer even," he said. "Last year in CS222, C++, we programmed half of a Pac-Man game. This year, we will create a Tic-tac-toe game. Last year, we even did some programming for a vending machine. There's a pretty wide variety for what we can do."
He added that his advisor and professor, Dr. Bob Bradly has helped him immensely, including getting him into a class with an overview of web design.
"My favorite class is 490, senior seminar. I'm not getting a seminar credit, but I asked him to let me in it just for, honestly, the stuff they go over. I want to get into web design, which is not a required class because it's an IT [information technology] class. It is good to know."
Harris just started his junior year and is already going above and beyond the call of duty.