CSpotlight: Empowerment Through Computer Science

Why did you choose to study computer science specifically at the University of Minnesota?

I chose computer science because I have always loved math and was super interested in learning about new technologies. I loved fixing and helping people with computers so I developed an interest naturally. 

How did you become interested in computer science?

I learnt about HTML in grade 8, and that is when I made my first website. I felt like I could make better use of HTML and learnt CSS on my own, hence making my first nice looking website in grade 8. I ended up learning and making a few games throughout high school. Also being a girl in computer science has always made me feel empowered since there is not a lot of gender diversity in tech.

Congratulations on receiving multiple scholarships, including the Grace Hopper Conference, Global Excellence, and the Undergraduate Research! How have these scholarships impacted your academic progress?

These scholarships have proved to be extremely helpful for me since I have a single mom and I am an international student, so naturally my cost of attendance is 3 times higher than an average student from the US. These scholarships enable me to attend this prestigious college and fulfill my goal of becoming a Software Engineer and becoming independent. 

Tell us more about your independent research project on the impact of COVID-19 on transition methodologies. How did you decide to start your research on this topic?

My research was based around analyzing the transition trends in Minnesota during 2019-2020 for deaths caused by COVID-19 by cleaning data and using statistical models for data processing in R. I used Chi-square test and multivariable logistic regression modeling to assess differences in transition methodologies and to associate subject demographic factors with transition status.

This research was in collaboration with MDH (Minnesota Department of Health) to help understand how certain methodologies after death (burial, cremation, burial and cremation, etc) can help curb the spread of covid-19 by understanding the trend.

How did you get involved as an undergraduate research assistant? What are some projects that you have worked on?

Freshman year I started getting interested in statistics since I had already taken stats classes in high school and wanted to explore more in it. I joined a data science research group and assisted a PhD student with their research based on Social computing. I analyzed human behavior by filtering 80,000 Instagram and Twitter comments, using Python (Pandas). I was also responsible for consolidating analysis by filtering out languages and emojis from JSON and CSV files using Langdetect .

Then in summer I participated in another research project on the impact of COVID-19 on transition methodologies , which I described in the previous section.

What advice do you have for incoming computer science students?

That they should believe in themselves and work hard while also giving themselves credit and time to relax. Making connections with people through college is extremely important by joining different clubs, research groups, hackathons,etc.

What are your plans after graduation?

I graduate in May 2024 so I would like to work for a bit and then go to grad school for a Masters in Computer Science at the U.