What is your plan after graduating?

As a participant of JMU's 4-and-1 program with Virginia Tech, after graduating I will be completing a Master's of Engineering in Computer Engineering. My degree will be concentrated in Machine Learning, and I aim to pursue a machine learning job after I complete that masters.

What advice do you have for incoming students?

Our major is not meant to be easy, but it's definitely doable! Throughout your time as a CS major, there will be several moments where you are challenged in ways that you never were in high school. Don't back down from these challenges, they are the best ways to learn. Utilize the several resources the department offers for students early on in their programs such as TA hours, 4th hour, and your professors' office hours. You'll find your grade a lot more rewarding the more your work towards it. And as always, start your programming assignments early!

What internship experience have you had?

Over the summer of 2022, I participated in JMU's internship abroad program where I spent 2 months doing an internship in Dublin, Ireland. I worked in the DCU branch of the Adapt Research Centre. There, my role was as a software engineer/bug tester for their risk management application. This opportunity allowed me to apply the most important skill I've been learning since coming to JMU: the ability to learn on my own.

My assignments dealt with technologies I have never used before, but having been through classes such as CS345 and CS430 before this experience, I was already used to doing the research I needed to best prepare myself for the task. I would definitely recommend doing an internship abroad if you're able to!

How are you involved in the CS department?

I am a lead Teaching Assistant for the department. Being a TA is one of the most fulfilling job experiences I've ever had. Helping out students early on in their programs reminds me of my experience as an underclassman. Some of the concepts were really difficult for me to grasp by myself, so being able to pay forward the kindness my TAs showed me to younger students really brings the experience full circle. I also love being able to share tips that weren't necessarily explained in classes but can make your life easier such as tips on debugging 261 projects.

What makes JMU CS special?

Definitely the students and faculty within the program. Everywhere you look you see friendly faces that are always willing to have a conversation, work together on programming assignments, or even just sympathize with you when your code isn't working. The professors are always willing to talk. It doesn't even need to be about CS! The atmosphere we have within our department is something I didn't think I would be finding at a school this big.

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