My first semester freshman year, I took my favorite Computer Science class where some of our projects included extracting an image from a green screen and placing it in front of a new background, creating a Facebook like network of Presidents where each one had a profile and could add or delete connections with each other, and my personal fav, programming a robot to go through an obstacle course by staying on a specific color, sensing road blocks in front of it and maintaining a certain distance from a wall. We primarily focused on C and C++ and then moved into Java my semesters following. Fortunately, my professors all give us the choice on each assignment to choose whether we want to code in C++ or Java which is great for keeping up my skills in both.
Last semester, I worked with students from the 201 class (which I am in now) as well as a program manager from a different class on a 15 person group project spanning half the semester. The first half of the course was spent on the graphics based video game, which you can read about here, while the second half was spent making a factory simulation. The 201 class was in charge of the back end, which my group was in charge of the front end. We shared all of our code, held multiple weekly meetings, and had to present three deliverables to our professor. It was my first group project in computer science and will surely not be my last. I learned so much from having to understand and modify someone else’s code and all of the companies I have interviewed with have been particularly impressed with this one assignment.
The class I am currently in, CS201, is a design class in which we think about the big picture and break it into bite sized chunks to tackle a piece at a time. Our most recent project was a Restaurant complete with a host, multiple customers, tables, waiters, cooks, markets, and even a cashier. In fact, due to poor planning on my part, I unfortunately spent all of last weekend stuck indoors and staring at my computer screen working on this Restaurant project. I spent a few days (and nights) working alongside some of my classmates (who also underestimated the size of the project) which is always more fun than working alone. And, I finished the assignment two whole hours before it was due! Which in high school may not seem like much, but was a great feat for me.
Besides the occasional but exceptionally long assignment, my workload is completely bearable and still gives me plenty of time to do the other things I enjoy like actively participate in my sorority, play club ice hockey, and go on fun trips with the skydiving club. In addition to these, I am also a member of the Society of Women Engineers, which holds info sessions, events with companies, fundraisers, supports professional women and students, and helps organize big events like E(ngineeering)-Week, Date Auction, the talent show, etc. I’m also in the Association of Computing Machinery, which holds a number of programming competitions and hack-a-thons, hosts representatives from technical companies, and holds sessions for students to learn valued skills like web and mobile development across many different platforms. Lastly, I am in a new group called Women in Computing, a mix of SWE and ACM. This is the first year for WIC on campus so it is still growing it’s identity. But it has been really helpful for networking with older computer science women on campus who have taken the courses I’m currently in. It turns out, some of the officers in WIC are the girls I met while at the Grace Hopper Conference for Women in Computing which you can read about here. Some of the girls have even done the Explore Microsoft internship that I recently accepted and have lots of great tips to offer.
Through these groups, I have met a number of me fellow classmates as well as upperclassmen with great advice and connections. I am constantly aware of the computer science related events on campus. In fact, it was at a SWE Networking Night where I first met my Microsoft recruiter. I would have never guessed I would be working there this summer as a mere sophomore!