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.
It was around 11 in the evening of Friday the 13th, and I had two finals, a paper, and a portfolio due in the next 24 hours. The finals I had studied for, but of course no amount of studying could fix the gnawing feeling in my gut that I would forget something. The paper was all but finished, but I knew I wouldn’t have time to edit it or give it the once-over it deserved.
A few months ago, I vowed—against my better judgement—that I was going to suit up, print out about twice as many copies of my resume as I needed, and make my way to the Frank Erwin Center and take part in the 2013 Career Fair. I had been agonizing over this decision.
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