CSpotlight: Mentorship with Medtronic

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

I choose to study computer science at the University of Minnesota because it offers students limitless resources to enrich their learning, from its expansive academic curriculum, diverse staff, and student body, to the exemplary faculty at different schools and throughout the University. Through engaging with students from other nations, I learned to examine challenges in diverse viewpoints and drive my vision even further by opening my mind to new ways to solve problems. I have received an abundance of resources that have enriched my undergraduate education, including the opportunity to take a wide range of computer science courses, study abroad and conduct research, and complete internships. I am confident that the training I receive at the University of Minnesota will advance my skills and enable me to contribute positively to my future career.

How did you become interested in computer science?

My first exposure to computer science was my freshman year when I enrolled in CSCI 1133 on a whim. Towards the end of class, I was surprised to find myself in favor of the power of programming, in which a small amount of effort in writing an algorithm can solve all types of complex and challenging problems. This engaging experience in code development intrigued me to further my study in computer science courses. So far the computer science program has been fulfilling my passions for solving problems and producing creative solutions. UMN offers many courses that provide me an opportunity to be truly creative and innovative with my approach to solving problems.

How did you become part of the McNair Scholar? Tell us more about your involvement!

I applied to the federally funded TRIO McNair Scholars’ summer research program, where I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Dr. Daniel Berry in his  Bioecology, Self-Regulation, and Learning lab. The goal of our research was to better understand children's physical environments with a machine learning approach. While I was organizing a large set of data from SafeGraph, I created a method for organizing a large geospatial dataset by recognizing each file’s unique patterns. To complete this project, I was in charge of writing algorithms that organized data in Excel, and also assisted Dr. Berry with efficient searches for a specific case lookup. Throughout this research experience, I have developed and grown more confident in my coding abilities.

Tell us more about your mentorship with Medtronic WISE? What kind of projects were you working on?

Being a mentee in the Medtronic WISE program has provided me the opportunity to network and learn from a knowledgeable mentor while developing friendships with other STEM students. While I was in the WISE living community, I was surrounded by many other STEM students and we assisted each other in classes. My Medtronic mentor and I have developed a strong relationship that extends beyond one academic year. She has helped me prepare for internship interviews, provide advice on changing majors, connected me with other engineers at Medtronic for career guidance, and guided me in my academic, career, and personal life. I am sincerely grateful that UMN has provided me with this opportunity to meet this incredible Medtronic mentor.

What are some research projects that you worked on with the Medical Device Center? 

I contributed to the development of a new instrument that collects the meniscus tissue in a complex tear with ingredients to aid in meniscus repair. In this research project,  I was in charge of process documentation and guidelines to establish best practices in using the Bose tester.  I tested and measured the characteristics and behavior of the meniscus under various conditions, then I documented the procedure so my teammates can repeat the experiment. I also presented project updates to various design teams at our weekly meetings.

What aspects of research do you enjoy most?

What I enjoy most about research is being able to contribute to the discovery or development of something that can make a difference in people’s lives or change the world. Even though it may be a minor contribution, the process of applying what I learned in class and engaging myself in the creation of new knowledge in a research project is what excites me. 

What advice do you have for incoming computer science students?

My advice to incoming computer science students is not to miss out on the college experience by focusing on studies, going home every weekend, and staying within your comfortable boundaries. It's great to maintain ties with people you already know, but don't let it stop you from building a new life where you are. There are many student organizations on campus where you can meet new people who share a similar interest, such as the Society of Women Engineers, the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers, and more. Explore the campus; you'll be astonished at how many activities both the university and the twin cities have to offer.

What are your plans after graduation?

I am enrolled in the integrated Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree program at the University of Minnesota for my computer science program. I will be graduating with my Bachelor’s in 2023 and Master's in 2024. I am looking forward to applying my programming skills and knowledge to make a positive contribution to a company.