Posted in Center News: Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Who inspires you most and why (could also be what event or person first captured your interest to study CS)?
I knew I enjoyed working with computers before going into CS, but only as a hobby rather than an academic discipline. Like many others, I held the common misconception that CS and programming are equivalent. This misconception was obviously blown away once I took a few CS classes and met other undergrads who were engaged in research and realized the awesome cross-disciplinary applications of CS.
What are you interested in studying/researching in graduate school?
I'm interested in machine learning and natural language processing.
What are your current long-term career goals?
It's hard to say at this point, although at the moment, I would like to continue in academia. What I know for sure is that I would like to be in a position where I can engage in research and also mentor students who think they may be interested in pursuing CS to any degree. Personally, my mentor has played a huge role in helping me discover the parts of CS and research that I find most exciting and encouraging me to pursue those passions in graduate study, and I would love to have the opportunity to influence other students the way he has influenced me.
What suggestions do you have for others on applying to scholarships/fellowships such as the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship?
The most obvious piece of advice that I can give is to *apply*! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Start early and don't be embarrassed to ask anybody -- friends, family, fellow students, and especially professors -- for feedback on your ideas or essays. The NSF GRFP in particular makes it very clear what they're looking for in the application, so make sure you follow their guidelines to a tee. And for those underclassfolk who might be considering applying for these in the farther future: seek out research opportunities and establish close relationships with professors (these two usually go hand in hand). These things can only help.