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How did you get interested in computer science?

I got interested in computer science because my mom was a computer programmer and encouraged me to try it.  When I did I enjoyed the challenge of coding and programming.

What do you like most about JMU CS?

I like the size of the JMU CS department.  The classes are small and the professors have office hours where I can go and learn directly from the professor one-on-one and ask questions. I use this a lot.  I also love the help that they have for the lower level classes.  There are Teaching Assistants (TA) who are upperclassmen that hold lab hours where you can go and get help on assignments.  I hadn't had coding experience coming in as a freshman and I needed and used all the help I could get from both office hours and TA hours. 

Also, the professors are willing to help you and are focused on helping students learn - this is not the case at other schools where graduate students teach the classes and professors are focused on research.  JMU CS is focused on helping undergraduates learn and succeed in computer science, which makes it a welcoming and comforting environment. This is great because computer science is not easy.

Tell us about the clubs your involved with in the CS Department:

I am the president of WIT, JMU's Women in Technology club, which has grown in the past few years to be a very active and fun club!  We bring in women computer scientists from many tech companies to give presentations and advice about what its like to be a woman in the workforce. They help us reach out to contacts and get internships and other work experience.  We also take fun trips. For example, we have gone to Carter Mountain and other random adventures with the girl squad. 

WIT puts on DIGITAL (Dukes Inspiring Girls Into Technology Across Limits), a conference for middle and high school girls where we run multiple stations with hands on technology activities, lunch, an inspiring speaker, and a technological gift for each girl to take home.  The purpose of DIGITAL directly aligns with WIT's mission of encouraging women into STEM and it is so fun to see the young women enjoy technology and the conference as a whole.

I am also involved in several other ways in the department. I am a Teaching Assistant (TA) for the CS department. This means that I work in the lab and help out in a beginning level CS class. I've participated in social events organized by JMU CS's community outreach/social club Coders Anonymous. This helped me make friends within the JMU CS community. I am a part of the JMU Cyber Defense Club and have participated in various Capture The Flag cyber defense competitions. 

What are your plans for the future?

I received the SMART Scholarship award so I will be serving at least two years with the DoD supporting the Navy as part of the civilian workforce in Philadelphia working on cyber physical systems when I graduate.

What’s your passion?

I have a passion for learning new things - they don't have to be CS related, I really like exploring and adventures.  I'm also passionate about Women in Technology and helping encourage younger women to pursue a career in STEM because its super fun and rewarding.

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