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Mahima Varanasi

Computer Science, Class of 2022

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Hi there! I’m Mahima and I am a sophomore studying Computer Science. Even though I’ve found a home here at USC, my first home is miles away in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I am involved with the USC College Democrats, The Unruh Institute - the university’s institute of politics, VoteSC - our campus wide voting initiative,  and the Roosevelt Institute - a progressive policy think tank. As you can tell, outside of academics, I am really interested in politics and the entire democratic process. I am really interested in cyber and election security as well. I hope to get more involved with student organizations in Viterbi as well. This summer I spent my time in Iowa, working on Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. I like to spend my free time reading comic books, going to brunch, watching the West Wing on repeat, and baking.

My Blogs

Check out what I have been up to in my recent blog posts!

Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.

Alan turing

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More About Me

My Favorite LA Spots

2 Truths, 1 Lie

True! Living in LA definitely lends itself to vegetarian cuisines.

My Involvements

  • USC College Democrats – Each week, fellow Democrats get together to speak about issues that are important to us and the Democratic party. We also work with candidates in local races, endorse them and volunteer for them. This year, Mayor Messam, a 2020 presidential candidate, came to one of the meetings!

  • The Unruh Institute – The Unruh Institute of Politics along with Dornsife’s Center for the Political Future host a series of events with political operatives and professionals at the Ground Zero cafe here on campus. It’s really easy to get involved and be more politically active. There are lots of internships and volunteering opportunities through the Institute as well. I was able to get my internship through the Unruh institute.

  • The Roosevelt Institute is a progressive policy think tank here on campus. The organization spends every weekly meeting going over a different aspect of writing policy. I am working on a policy paper that highlights the need for comprehensive computer science education in public schools. By the end of the semester, students usually have a complete and thorough public policy proposal written.

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 My Favorite Classes at USC 

This is everyone’s introduction to the world of computer science. It is the first computer science class that I’ve taken that doesn’t involved programming. Professor Goodney covers a wide range of topics from the Internet, to robotics and artificial intelligence. This course is basically your first glimpse into all of the other courses you will take as a computer science major.

Learn about the history of usc

My Major: Computer Science

     Why Computer Science?

DISCLAIMER: computer science is much more than coding. I don't think I really acknowledged or even knew that before I applied to colleges as a potential computer science major. Growing up, I was always the most indecisive person. I still am, or am I? See what I mean? In high school, I signed up for a computer programming class. I ended up loving it and taking programming classes all four years. I loved the problem solving aspect of all of it. I really appreciated the structure: this is a problem you have to solve, here are your tools (code), now go! The solution was always something I made, completely mine, from scratch.  Along with computer science, I was interested in so many other fields including politics and even animation. I wasn't sure what to choose, until I realized that computer science was something prevalent in both fields. Computer science is everywhere and in every field. The education is structured but the career paths are endless, so that's why I chose computer science.

My Favorite TV Shows!

  • DaredevilDaredevil is part of Marvel’s Netflix universe. The show follows Matthew Murdock, a Columbia-educated lawyer by end, masked man by night. The catch is Matt’s blind and relies on his heightened senses to fight. Matt tries to save his city, Hell’s Kitchen, through the law but once criminal Kingpin Wilson Fisk arrives, he has no choice but to fight this battle. 

  • Madam Secretary – I for one love politics and political shows, but even if you don’t, this show is great because it tackles modern and relevant issues. The show follows Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord as she takes on the position after her predecessor’s sudden death. You get a really great inside look as to what the Secretary of State does in terms of diplomacy. 

  • The West Wing – Again, maybe I’m incredibly biased because I hope to work in the White House someday but the West Wing is a show that I will never stop watching. The show began in the late 90s and ended in the early 2000s. It has beautiful writing and the show follows not only the President of the United States, but his senior staff. No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, the show reminds you what’s great about American politics. Not to mention, when you get to the seventh season, you’ll see that they filmed here at USC!

  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel –This show, on Amazon Prime, follows Midge, a devoted wife and mother in the 1950s. Her husband left her for another woman and she has no clue how to take care of herself. One drunken night she goes to a comedy club to complain about her husband, and what do you know, she’s a natural. The first two seasons follow Midge as she handles her new life as a female comedian. The musical is phenomenal and so is the production. Not to mention a really amazing cast. 

College Applications

My Advice

When I was writing my college application essays, I wanted to be funny, clever, and unique. Essentially, I thought my college essay would resemble my stand-up routine. When you start writing your essay, you will read these stories about incredibly creative and unique college essays or essays with incredibly moving stories. While it’s great to be funny, I think that the most important thing to convey in your essay is genuinity. If the question is why are you interested in the major you’ve selected, be sure that your excitement shows through. I also think colleges really appreciate when you mention something specific to their institutions and programs. For example, Viterbi Plus is a pretty amazing aspect of any engineering major.