Hello again, everyone! Today VSA is highlighting the different computer science majors offered at Viterbi (CSBA, CSCI, CS (Games), and CECS in a future blog post). Read on to find more info about what it’s like to study, work, and live life as a computer scientist on and off campus!
Today’s responses are from:
I’m Anika Gupta! I’m a sophomore at USC, and I’m from Portland, Oregon. I like going on hikes, paddleboarding, and discovering new musical artists. I’m involved with the Trojan Marketing Group, Project RISHI, and conduct research in the USC Robotics Interaction Lab.
Hi everyone! My name is Karen Ly, and I am a senior studying Computer Science. My hometown is Westminster, California, also known as Little Saigon because of its predominantly Vietnamese community. I am a proud first-generation low-income (FGLI) college student from a Vietnamese immigrant family. Currently, I am one of the Co-Chair for Women in Engineering and an undergraduate researcher at the Interaction Lab.
How I describe my major
(and emphasis if applicable):
Anika Gupta: I’m studying Computer Science and Business Administration with a minor in Linguistics. I’m really enjoying my major so far. It provides an amazing combination of communication and logic, and I’ve met a lot of cool people because of it.
Karen Ly: While there are several emphases for Computer Science, I am pursuing the general track. I would describe my major as versatile and well-rounded because you get exposed to different topics from theory to machine learning and artificial intelligence to hands-on applications through class projects. I would be lying if I said the courses are not difficult, but that challenging aspect makes the experience very rewarding. I would also describe Computer Science as flexible and open-ended because there are a variety of fields and careers that you can pursue post-graduation.
How I chose my major:
Anika Gupta: I love computer science and math because I feel like learning it gives me a new way to think, both in and out of the classroom. But I also really value communication and language, and I wanted to retain those skills in college by studying business and linguistics. In the future, I think CSBA puts me in a good place to understand what a company’s users and clients need and expect from the tech we build.
Karen Ly: I came to USC as a biomedical engineering major with the intention of pursuing the medical field. However, I sort of had an existential crisis one day in Parkside Dining Hall where I thought about what I wanted to do post-graduation. Reflecting on my high school experience of volunteering at a local hospital, I realized that the environment just wasn’t for me. As someone who wants to help people in her future work, I came to realize that Computer Science would still provide me with that opportunity to do so and open more doors. I can impact people in numerous fields from healthcare to finance with my major because the skills that I learn can be applied almost everywhere.
How I got involved at USC:
Anika Gupta: When I first got to USC, I wasn’t sure what kinds of clubs or activities I wanted to get involved in. Although not everything stuck, I’ve found a lot of really valuable involvements. I’m the Director of Student Recruitment at Trojan Consulting Group, and I’m also a Viterbi Fellow Researcher at the USC Robotics Interaction Lab and a part of SC Project RISHI.
Karen Ly: While adjusting to the college environment, I started getting more involved with several Viterbi organizations such as Women in Engineering, Robogals, and the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers. I found the majority of these groups at the involvement fair where I got to meet the board members and learn more about the purpose of the organization. Each of these organizations ties back to my background as a first-generation Vietnamese female college student pursuing tech who is passionate about giving back to the community. I also got involved in research and currently work at the Interaction Lab which focuses on socially assistive robots. Regarding finding research opportunities, I reached out to professors and Ph.D. students, expressing my interest and willingness to learn. I recommend anyone interested in getting involved with research to also look out for funding opportunities like Viterbi’s CURVE program.
How I found community at USC:
Anika Gupta: I’ve met some of my best friends and have found families through the clubs I’m involved in. I made really great friends through study groups and classes, but also met people at random events or activities, too. I’m so grateful to know such smart, amazing, and kind people that have made my experience at USC.
Karen Ly: I found my community and friends at USC by making an effort to get to know people from my classes. I met my current roommate who is also one of my closest friends from my Freshman Academy course. We bonded over our common interests and similar background of being first-generation college students. I also met a lot of my classmates during office hours when we would help each other out and talk about other classes. This is something that I appreciate about USC because everyone is so willing to help each other. Additionally, I highly recommend checking out student services centers and student equity and inclusion programs like First Generation Plus Success Center which can provide a lot of support and advice. I am part of the Norman Topping family where I have met incredible individuals outside of my major.
How I spend my free time at USC:
Anika Gupta: I love going to concerts and music festivals around LA! My favorite so far has been Primavera Sound. I also enjoy cooking and trying new food places with my friends.
Karen Ly: In my free time, you can catch me binge-watching Korean dramas or watching random videos on YouTube. I love watching cooking videos and trying out new food places! Other times, my roommates and I do bonding activities to destress. We have movie nights or go out to eat. You can sometimes find us hanging out in the Village area and drinking boba or blueberry matcha lattes from Dulce (I highly recommend it!). Hanging out with people and having my own self-care time is a great way to take my mind off coding!