Without question, lots of kids have recently made UT Austin their dream school. While they may not have understood Empowering Leadership Alliance’s (ELA) Towers of Hanoi problem, or walked away with the ability to program UT’s soccer-playing robots, they certainly got the message that computer science, and school itself, is fun.
A screen without error messages to a programmer is as pricelesss as the thrill of running one's first program. It can be a moment of accomplishment, exhilaration, and perhaps euphoria. However, it can also be a reflection of how many hours you spent trying to solve a simple problem that really would only have taken you 10 minutes.
(This is a little late, and I apologize. I’m going to try to have a weekly post on Tuesdays.)
Listen to any conversation in PCL during finals week and you’ll be reminded that college is really, really difficult. Not only are we told that our GPAs will define the rest of our lives, we’re also expected to be involved outside of our classes, have some sort of social life, stay in contact with people from home and somehow manage to get more than twenty minutes of sleep a night (and of course any free time you all have should be spent reading this fantastic blog).
A major goal of a minority awareness group I am involved in, Women in Computer Science (WiCS), is increasing interest in computer science among young girls. Unfortunately, as I shared about my personal experiences in "The Need for Computer Science Education", there is often a lack of opportunity to pursue this newfound interest once that goal is achieved.
Because a great deal of fortunate events lead to my eventual arrival at UT, where I have more available opportunities in my future than I would have ever before thought possible, I have gained a great desire to “pay it forward.” One such opportunity fell into my lap last semester when I joined the group GirlAdvocates!, in which the group’s members go to the local Webb Middle School weekly throughout a school year to meet with a young female student simply as a mentor and role model.
“28 + 7? Let’s see, 29, 30, 31…”
I remember staying awake until 4 AM in high school talking to my best friend about an essay that we were both freaked out to write the next day in class. It was a weeknight, and for some reason, we had convinced our parents that a sleepover would be a good idea before our slow death on lined paper the next day. When she fell a chapter behind in math, I could always show her a few concepts she’d missed in class, and in a few hours we’d be on the same level again.
There are two kinds of professors at UT. There are those who you ask for a position in their lab, and they tell you to take their course on whatever topic they’re teaching. If you do well in the course, or if the professor notices you, they’ll usually be willing to let you work with them. And then there are those who just give you a list of reading material and ask you to dive in right away. Pretty much every professor at UT is willing to give you a spot in their lab. All you have to do is ask.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by the authors and those providing comments on these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of UT Computer Science, The University of Texas or any employee thereof.