Monday, June 15, 2015

Precious Gem: Cassidy Laidlaw

This week, we at the Stone would like to recognize yet another one of the exceptional members of the Gemstone program.  Rising sophomore Cassidy Laidlaw, new member of team BIASES, is a Computer Science and Mathematics double major.  Last semester, he enjoyed his heavy course load complete with programming, algorithm analysis, and abstract algebra.  However, Cassidy is much more than a double STEM major as he is also a member of the Men’s Choir and a jazz ensemble on campus at the University of Maryland.

Cassidy’s face lit up during our interview whenever he spoke about music.  During the spring semester, he was busy performing in weekly concerts for both of his music groups.  As a member of Men’s Choir, Cassidy had the opportunity to perform at the Kennedy Center with some of the cast members of Les Miserables, an experience he thoroughly enjoyed.  In addition to performing, music also influenced Cassidy a different way this semester.  He participated in a Jerusalem Marathon where he raised over $2,500 to support children in Israel.  At the end of his fundraising, he flew to Israel over spring break to run the marathon and to meet the child he was partnered with for the duration of the fundraising.  During his time overseas, Cassidy had the chance to hear his partner sing with the charity choir, which he described as a beautiful and special experience.  His affiliation with Israel does not stop with this touching experience. Cassidy will be a co-president of Terpim next semester, which is an Israeli culture group on campus.  While participating in all of these activities would be enough for most people, he also finds time to tutor kids in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades in a nearby community, to work on a computer program he took on as a side project, and to satisfy his love of the outdoors by biking and running.

Cassidy’s plans for the future are just as impressive as the litany of activities he participates in now.  He is currently weighing his career preferences, but he believes that he would be happy doing research as a professor.  However, he is very excited by the possibility of working at Not Impossible Labs, a company that looks to solve the diverse problems facing humanity.  Cassidy is attracted to the opportunity of having a job where he could directly see his ideas and work affect other people positively.  His last goal may not be entirely surprising, as Cassidy bikes all over campus, but he hopes one day to bike all the way across the country.  He may have just been placed on his Gemstone team but Cassidy is already doing great things, and there is no doubt that he will continue to do so throughout his time at the University of Maryland.

- 15 June 2015 – Nate Nenortas 

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