Hello World! I’m Abdur ✌🏾

Hey everyone! My name is Abdur Khan and I’m a senior from Perrysburg, Ohio. I’m a French major, originally pre-med but I think it’s time to declare myself on the DH path instead.

When I came to W&L, I accidentally got into the habit of taking classes that connect really well with each other. One semester, my intro biology class was about drugs and how they act, and I also took a psychology class about psychoactive drugs. Another semester, genetics and biochemistry overlapped just as well. Last winter term, I took intro to programming and learned the basics of programming with Python, while for my French class, I learned the basics of HTML, CSS, and XML. This latest overlap is what really brought me to the digital humanities. I was aware of the field and I vaguely knew what it involved, and even had friends taking the intro course, but I never really realized what “digital humanities” really meant until I started exploring it for myself.

Lately, it seems like everything I do is centered around technology and computers. I worked at the ITS HelpDesk over the summer and worked with Professor McCormick on his Huon d’Auvergne project. I’ve never really thought about this but it was interesting working on two different aspects of technology. There was the hardware and the professional side at work, and during and after, I would work on the software and the academic side of things. There’s not as much overlap as you’d expect between the two sides, but having those experiences has been extremely valuable and I think they’re steadily pushing me towards a career in technology. My command of Python and knowledge of command line (hacking stuff) has already come in handy. I wrote a script in Python, with a lot of help from Brandon, that made my work with Prof. McCormick easier, and later wrote another code that simplified another process for us. Writing my own code that wasn’t for an assignment for a comp-sci lab was honestly exhilarating, as nerdy as that sounds. I can’t remember applying knowledge from a class and using it the same way for a practical solution, so doing that for the first time and now doing it on a regular basis makes things feel real in a way that being at college hasn’t before.

Getting so heavily involved in DH so fast makes me think that I should keep exploring the opportunities in this field. That’s why I applied for a DH fellowship and how I wound up writing an honors thesis that’s about half DH-based. I’m really excited to keep learning about the digital humanities and their applications and I’d like to see where they take me after graduation.

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