When did you know that you wanted to study Computer Science?
I decided on Computer Science as my major in my junior year of high school. I knew that I was interested in CS, but wasn’t that knowledgeable about the opportunities in the field. I decided to go with CS and told myself that I would change it if I ever found something else I would rather study.
What area of Computer Science are you most interested in?
I’ve become increasingly interested in web development because the web is a huge part of our lives. I’m intrigued by the ways websites are implemented and designed, and also by the ways people use them.
Are you part of any labs, clubs or organizations on campus?
I work in the UMBC Ebiquity research group in the CSEE department on projects related to data mining, machine learning, and community detection.
Are you involved in any research projects?
I currently have an Undergraduate Research Award (URA) to study the detection of close groups of friends in social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Have you had any internships?
My first internship was in the summer of 2010 and I worked for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, MD. I was part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program and I worked with a host in the materials lab to validate software that NIST uses for x-ray diffraction metrology.
In the summer of 2011, I interned for Google in Kirkland, WA. I worked as part of the BOLD Practicum for Engineering in the Contacts group. I created a pseudo-random contacts generator for simple, automatic contacts generation. I will be returning to Google in the upcoming summer and will most likely work in the New York office.
What are your plans after graduation?
I’m enrolled in the BS/MS program for Computer Science at UMBC, which requires that I study an additional year to get a Master’s degree in CS by taking graduate courses as an undergraduate. I am considering further Graduate School but will most likely enter the industry after I complete the five-year program.
What is your dream job?
I would love to run my own company that focuses on helping people either by increasing productivity or by protecting them from health risks. Specifically, I would enjoy doing work that relates to physical health and nutrition, the empowerment of women, or simplifying daily tasks.
On UMBC and CSEE…
Why did you choose UMBC?
I started at UMBC in Fall 2009. I chose UMBC because I liked their Computer Science program and I wanted to stay in Maryland. I also received a scholarship from the Center for Women in Information Technology (CWIT) Program. I knew the program would provide me with opportunities to explore my interests, give back to others, and to build a professional network.
What was your first impression of UMBC?
I thought the campus seemed peaceful and I felt that the environment would help me succeed as a student.
What do you like about campus life?
I enjoy living with people that are in my classes and that share my interests because we get along well and have fun together. On the other hand, I love being exposed to others' hobbies and ways of living that I never knew about.
What was your first Computer Science course?
My first CS course was in my sophomore year of high school and was called the Principles of Programming Languages (C++). I happened to choose it because I needed an elective and knew nothing about the subject.
What was your favorite Computer Science course?
My favorite course so far is CMSC 313 (Computer Organization and Assembly Language) with Mr. Frey. I recommend taking a special topics seminar course in the CS department because they are different from many of the required CS courses. I took CMSC 491 (Computation, Complexity, and Emergence) with Dr. desJardins and learned about a lot of key concepts in the field.
What do you like about the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (CSEE) Department?
My favorite part of the CSEE department is that the professors and staff are extremely interested in the success of the students and are great at providing guidance and helping students find work opportunities.
How would you describe the professors in the department?
The professors are almost always open and caring about their students. They are friendly and are great resources in and out of the classroom.
What advice would you give to incoming students?
Apply for internships even when you think you don’t fully qualify! They are the best way to expand your knowledge and your professional network.