What attracted you to Illinois?
I knew Illinois had an awesome computer science department, but since I was not sure about my major, I wanted to attend a school that was strong throughout the sciences. All of the departments in the Colleges of Engineering are world renowned, so I knew Illinois would be a great catalyst for my success regardless of my academic path.
What now impresses you most about the College?
One aspect of Engineering that surprised me was its intense commitment to diversity. Between the Morrill Engineering Program and Women in Engineering, Illinois really wants underrepresented students to feel welcome and to succeed.
Another impressive point has been the interest and respect shown to students by administration and faculty. For example, I have sat down with a dean to discuss ways in which Illinois could expand its diversity efforts and have felt comfortable approaching professors about research opportunities.
Why do you belong at Illinois?
I enjoy and thrive off of the dedication exhibited by everyone at Illinois. The students and faculty are so smart, talented, and driven that you cannot help but draw knowledge and glean inspiration from those around you.
What has been your favorite engineering course?
Computer Science 225 was a really eye opening course. This class is known as the “interview class” and for good reason. My interview with Bloomberg LP in New York didn’t feel like an interview as much as it felt like a CS 225 exam. In this class, you learn a lot about the most important data structures that are crucial for developing the skills companies are hungry for.
What internships have you held?
I interned the summer after my freshman year with the State Farm Research and Development Center (RDC), located in Research Park on campus. My job was to work on two web applications. The experience was fantastic! I got to work with people from different majors and backgrounds to develop tools that really made an impact at State Farm.
Have you utilized Engineering Career Services?
They were fantastic in helping me build my résumé. Initially, I had no idea how to create it. Plus, they provided mock interview sessions, which prepared me for the real ones.
What’s campus life like for engineers?
Overall, both the University and the College of Engineering have a campus vibe that is fun and intellectual. Since the student body is so diverse, you’ll find that campus life will echo the different cultures that comprise it.
What is your advice to incoming freshmen?
Be sure to attend Quad Day. When I found oSTEM (Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), a professional registered student organization supporting LGBT students in STEM fields, I had no idea that the flyer I received would change my life professionally and socially.
Also, do things that matter to you. As a freshman, I secured a research position with a professor, was admitted to the Campus Honors Program after applying halfway through the year, and became president of oSTEM. None of these things were given to me; I took the initiative. But Illinois provided the opportunities.
What has been your favorite place to live on campus?
What do you like about Champaign-Urbana?
I really love the restaurants. With places like the Courier Cafe, Radio Maria, and Maize you’ll have a wealth of dining options when you don’t want to cook or eat in the residence halls. Also, there are always so many great bands in town!
What are your post-graduate plans?
I would either like to create a social networking startup with a few friends or enter industry by doing web development for chefs and food related websites.