College education has paved various railroad tracks for me. I have been venturing in every direction to learn how to thrive in college and seize the opportunities. I took my first steps towards my major by reaching out to a counselor to enroll in AP Computer Science A; then, transitioning to a community college. I grew a passion for computer science and its career paths. After some reflection, I settled on the decision to transfer to the University of Central Florida. It was a tough endeavor to make the decision to leave my parents, live independently and embrace college life to the fullest. Nonetheless, life is meant to be a challenge; pushing myself to new experiences gave me confidence and strength.
During my time in the community college, I asserted my goal to study computer science. The areas of study in this discipline were so vast, with areas ranging from cybersecurity to software. The options for work in this major were quite extensive too, from web developers to database managers. Computers have become universal; possessing an understanding on how to use them thoroughly is very beneficial. As a result, computer scientists can find employment in various work settings. They can serve in government agencies, financial firms, hospitals and many more places. However, computer scientists are not just computer experts; with proficient communication and leadership skills they can rise to management roles.
The job mobility and problem-solving hooked me to explore computer science some more. After taking Introduction to Computer Science, Introduction to Programming and Introduction to C++ in community college, I knew this major was for me. Computer science felt befitting considering my enjoyment of math, desire to learn about computers and knack for solving problems. Initially, I wanted to go as far as possible with the major, checking off a list of earning all the possible degrees. However, that plan was built on the sake of achieving arbitrary checkpoints. It did not ponder whether I truly wanted those degrees. I needed to educate myself on the paths that lay ahead. Through help from guidance counselors and individual research, I framed a better image of my overall goal and the path to reach it.
I intend to earn my B.S. degree in computer science to supplement by A.A. degree. Then, I will join a resourceful graduate school to undertake the task of earning my M.S. degree in computer science. Right now, I am eyeing the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. My faculty mentor at UCF attended the latter; he strongly recommends it. I want to acquire a PH.D. to engage in deep research, pinpoint problems and work diligently to solve them with the right tools and funding. Nevertheless, I must be certain on the line of research I wish to practice in. I am currently in the Transfer Learning Environment and Academic Research Network program.
This program has encouraged me to seek out research and prepare for graduate school. Students in this initiative have been set on a course to gain hands-on research experience, present projects and build a supportive network of faculty and peers. I am scheduled to work on a project for the spring that focuses on testing the hypothesis that actual errors programmers make are derived from basic errors. I plan to create a database of programming error triples, a literature survey on common programming errors and automated program repair for functional programs and lastly, a paper describing what the common programming errors are in the database, and how they can be covered by a context-free grammar of basic types of errors. I will present my findings at the Showcase of Undergraduate Research.
This research concentrates on automated program repair and the errors made in functional programming. Functional programming has become a common style for programmers, though a corpus of common errors does not exist for it. A corpus of common errors is needed for automated program repair. For that regard, one of the main purposes of this project is to collect a corpus of programming error triples: a description of the program and two syntactically correct programs, one with the correct output and the other with the incorrect output. This data can help automated program repair for functional programs transform code that is almost correct to correct code. I am grateful to my faculty mentor for leading me down this path. Presently, as the project unravels, if I feel I have a keen interest for this type of research, I will most likely pursue a PH.D. in computer science, specializing in language design and semantics.
My path to reach my degrees will consist of not only academic courses, but an aim to indulge in a diverse academic experience that provides me with leadership, research, workplace and cultural awareness skills. I must be able to adapt to different circumstances, call on my knowledge and apply my skills to the tasks at hand. Only then, will I have built a charisma and confidence to swimmingly perform in the industry. Currently, I am on lookout for learning opportunities outside the classroom: internships, certifications, volunteering, leadership programs, study abroad and research experiences for undergraduates.
Working in an internship can give me experience in the field and develop my skills like programming. Acquiring a certification will help expand my knowledge and skills as well as increase my worth once I step into the job market. Volunteering gives me the chance to teach youth about programming and draw them to careers that use it. Enrolling in a leadership program will hone my communication and presentation skills by emboldening me to reflect and stand for my goals wholeheartedly. Studying abroad is a great way to learn new languages and establish an understanding and appreciation of other cultures. I would get to experience different education styles, make connections through networking and view the world through others’ eyes.
Studying abroad would allow me to develop socially by meeting foreign people, intellectually by understanding cultural differences, and personally, by discovering myself. This cultural immersion would revise my current perceptions regarding the world. I would have cultivated concerns for more worldwide issues and possess a stronger will to correct them. Conducting more undergraduate research will expose me to other areas in my discipline like cybersecurity or virtual reality. The more knowledge I have under my belt; the closer I get to confirming my specialization for my major.
The intention is to tackle an academic journey that is filled with rich, beneficial experiences. UCF offers multiple resources that provide these experiences to make students strong job candidates. If one is extremely serious about their education, they must challenge themselves to embark through these doors of opportunity. You never know what is lying ahead; that’s the thrill of living life in the moment. Furthermore, I aspire to join the UCF programming or cyber defense team. Practicing with talented peers will expose me to a plethora of strategies for competitive programming along with new perspectives regarding problem-solving. It will take long hours of preparation during the fall, spring and summer for me to be ready for the tryouts. However, joining the team is a lifechanging experience I just must be part of. My education need not be limited to the university. I can use online resources such as Codeacademy or Code.org to improve my coding skills as well.
The overall goal is to become a software developer with strong computer and critical thinking skills that works at Google or Microsoft. With experience, I can grow my communication and leadership skills and move to higher positions. As well as demonstrate that I am a hard-working employee that is efficient when working independently or collaboratively. I will use these skills to develop convenient software that is user friendly and comprehensible on a global level. On top of that, I want to invent my own programming language; a multipurpose, straightforward language that’s optimal for any use such as web development, database management or game computing. It would also contain a universal code converter that transforms code to any language; companies that want a transition in the language they utilize can use it.
Additionally, I will work on coding projects to program applications and machines that assist with everyday tasks and promote eco-friendly measures for the planet. Moreover, I would not mind creating fun, educational games that encourage teamwork, sharp thinking and quirky strategies. The adventure of creating games from scratch deeply motivates me. Lastly, I wish to develop interactive mobile apps that encourage users to live a healthy lifestyle: eating nutritious meals, doing rigorous exercise and setting progressive goals.
Now that winter break has arrived, there is no better time to get ahead in learning! I intend to refresh my coding in Python, C and C++. As well as learn Java for my upcoming Object-Oriented Programming course. It is my desire to master several programming languages, so I can apply that knowledge to research and create new programs. I will read books relevant to computer logic and cybersecurity for my Computer Logic A Organization and Security in Computing courses. Also, there will be time to peruse primary and secondary literature for my research project. Finally, I will keep abreast on computer science trends and tech companies to stay informed. Earning this scholarship will relieve my financial burden, allowing me to focus more of my efforts on participating in opportunities that will brighten my future. I am willing to take on these endeavors to attain my goal!