Alex Whitworth is having the college experience he always wanted at Florida Polytechnic University. He’s involved in multiple organizations, plays lacrosse, works in the admissions office, and is taking courses that challenge and inspire him.
“I’m the type of person to go above and beyond,” said Whitworth, a junior majoring in computer science with a concentration in game development and simulation. “Florida Poly is helping me set myself up for an incredible future.”
But the transfer student’s path to his strong academic career wasn’t as direct as he’d planned.
Right after graduating from Bloomingdale Senior High School in Valrico, Florida, Whitworth headed to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, to study aerospace engineering.
“I had a natural aptitude for everything STEM and coasted by in high school, but in college I found out that coasting was not a successful strategy,” he said.
Whitworth took a step back and reevaluated not only his approach to studying, but his academic and career goals. He soon earned an associate degree from Florida SouthWestern State college and researched the kind of university that would be the best fit for his high-tech ambitions while also providing a career-focused environment.
“I thought back to a programming class that I struggled with and my a-ha moment when I was able to make it work and everything finally clicked,” Whitworth said. “With computer science, you see a problem and you solve it. The satisfaction you get is encapsulated in fine-tune detail and you can expand on it.”
Oct. 18-22 is National Transfer Student Week, and Whitworth said he is happy his educational path led him to transfer to Florida Poly, where he found small classes and a rigorous curriculum.
“When I got into college, I was coasting. I wanted to find a place where I could apply myself and start pedaling,” he said. “Everything lined up perfectly with Florida Poly.”
His decision to specialize in game development and simulation came naturally.
“As much as there’s a side of me that’s STEM-oriented, there’s also a very creative side, and in my past experiences I was trying to push myself toward that logical side while hamstringing what would also keep me interested in what I’m working on,” Whitworth said. “Game design here definitely does that.”
Whitworth, who is a successful student, also enjoys sharing his perspective with prospective students in his current role as an admissions ambassador.
“It’s never too late to make a change, whether you’ve worked in an industry however long or you’re two years into a degree and realize it isn’t for you,” he said. “That’s something that took me three years to figure out. Now I’m pouring myself into a medium like game design and production that actually calls to me.”
Director of Communications