When I started really thinking about college during my senior year of high school, I didn’t have a clear idea of what school I wanted to attend. As a student in the Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) I was encouraged to apply to a handful of schools, including Montgomery College (MC). Long story short, I ultimately decided to go to MC to first earn my Associate’s Degree in Computer Science. My original plan was to pursue a bachelor’s in Cybersecurity, but I grew more interested in coding than I ever thought I’d be. I’d never taken any computer science or cybersecurity classes in high school, but when I looked over the classes required for the Computer Science program, they really piqued my interest.
I did a lot of research on possible career paths early on while I was at MC because I knew the classes I would take could greatly affect where I’d end up in the world of computer science. After some careful thought, I decided I wanted to transfer to UMBC, but had still been exploring which campus I wanted to attend. I’d heard about the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) in high school, when I was in the ACES program, and discovered that UMBC at USG had a new Computer Science program being offered, which also happened to include an optional Cybersecurity track. USG also really appealed to me because of the increased amount of scholarships available, as well as the overall lower cost for the same education. So, a year and half into my studies at MC, I ended up receiving my A.A. in Computer Science, and applied to UMBC at USG a semester earlier than I’d planned.
After transferring to UMBC at USG, I got involved on campus as a student blogger on USG’s “Around the Grove” blog. I’m also a Kendall Scholar and being the first Kendall Scholar in the Computer Science program here means a lot to me personally. I’m especially grateful that the scholarship provided me with two mentors that I was able to lean on during my time here. I also continued to actively participate in the ACES program, where I received support through workshops, coaching, and other events hosted on campus that helped me grow professionally. Outside of school, I gained additional experience during my summer internships. My first internship, for example, was with the National Weather Service. I was able to spend that summer working on bug fixes for the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS).
Now I’m a proud graduate from UMBC, as of December 2023. Reflecting back on my time at USG, I am thankful to have received some amazing scholarships and opportunities, not to mention access to resources and people that have truly helped me grow as a person. In the next few years, I may change gears and pursue a career in Cybersecurity, or maybe even get another degree. As of right now, I plan to see where a career as a software engineer will take me.