Growing up in a family of doctors, I always assumed that I would take a similar path, so coming into UVA, I blindly signed up for the typical pre-med schedule. One semester in, however, I started to realize that the work I was putting into my classes wasn’t for me, but to live up to my parents’ model. Talking to them about switching paths felt like trying to hold up a mountain, but our conversation ended much differently than I expected.
Having lived the path before, they told me if I didn’t truly love it, I didn’t have to force myself to be like them; an invitation to explore my own interests that I never thought was available for me.
Since I was a child, I have always been intrigued by computers, but I struggled to find a driving purpose to push me towards the field. One day, I found direction after stumbling upon a series of data ethics talks while on a college visit.
Drawn in by the keynote talk on racially biased algorithms, I was so engaged that I ended up staying until the end, and spent the night probing the Internet for more material on the matter to satisfy my overflowing curiosity. The talk opened my eyes to how technology could be used as a set of tools to help us make sense of the permeating role of computers, data, and algorithms in our lives. After taking my first class in Python CS 1110 I was certain computational sciences appealed to me more than the hard sciences.
The focus on problem-solving is what truly pulled me in, and the satisfaction that comes with successfully crafting code is what made me stay. However, I was in a desperate search for outlets to take my passion and turn it into something more malleable, so I am participating in UVA + Radify Labs Career Accelerator. Through Radify, I will be able to hone skills in data science that I can immediately use to various machine learning projects. Additionally, to prepare for the transition to a new coding language in CS 2110, I plan to take advantage of the accessibility of CS and teach myself Java online. Using the skills and experience I gain through my projects and coursework, I hope to land a technical internship for next summer to really advance my learning.
However, working as a nameless face drowning in mountains code behind a computer screen isn’t enough for me. I love interacting with other people, and believe the isolation that characterizes programming deprives me of the communal learning that results from collaboration. As a result, I plan on merging academics with my desire to work with others by pursuing a double major within the McIntire School. With my knowledge of CS, I could begin as a software developer. But with a background in business, along with the potential for additional schooling, I could continue to work upward and compliment both skill sets as I transition to management.
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