As we get closer to SC18, SIGHPC wanted to learn a little bit more about the students who will be participating in the Computing4Change competition. For the next few weeks, we will be sharing short bios of the students, so that we can all catch a glimpse of the incredible talent and diversity that this program attracts. Once the competition starts, they will be deeply absorbed in their projects, but you may see them on the Exhibit floor when they come up for air. We wish them all the best in the competition, and in their studies. Look out SC!
Erika Bailon is studying Computer Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder. But what not many people know is that she writes beautiful, sentimental poetry. Erika loves watching movies and talking about them with friends and family. When she was younger, she wanted to be a teacher, and she still wants to use her knowledge to help people. Her goal is to work for a non-profit, to share technology and its benefits with people who are less fortunate, including in her hometown of Mexico City. Like many of our C4C students, she wants to make the world a better place. ¡Buena suerte, Erika!
Peizhu (Pam) Qian is a Junior, studying Mathematics and Computer Science at Simmons College. She chose CS because she wanted to challenge herself, and she fell in love with coding after her very first class! In her early years, she was obsessed with dinosaurs and fossils, and wanted to be a paleontologist. She has even applied CS to her rowing hobby, publishing a paper using data mining to analyze rowers’ bodies and see how that related to their pacing patterns. There might not be any dinosaurs in the C4C competition, but there will be plenty of math, so Pam is prepared!
Noah Hradek is a Junior, studying Computer Science at the University of Texas at El Paso. CS seemed like a natural fit for Noah, starting with programming in Python in middle school. He really wanted to be an astronaut when he grew up, and then switched to climatology. But without memorizing all of the multiplication tables, he might have a hard time getting to space – he says he hasn’t learned them beyond 5×5! Noah spends his free time reading science fiction and watching movies (like Dune and BladeRunner), which makes it clear that he’ll fit right in at SC18.
Nainoa Norman Ing is a Junior, studying Biochemistry at Chaminade University of Honolulu. When he was younger, he wanted to have a house on the beach, and a boat, and no cares in the world. He still wants to be that person, but he’ll also study for a Masters in Chemistry, so he can have a lab in that house on the beach. Nainoa loves science, and even does math as a hobby – when he’s not working out. The convention center in Dallas is a long way from the beaches of Honolulu, but we think he’ll do great things at C4C.
Itzel Vazquez is a Junior, studying Mechanical Engineering at Community College of Denver, which she took on after studying Precision Machining at a technical college. She’s had a lot of ideas for what she wanted to be when she grew up – a detective, a lawyer, and even a philosopher. But her love of crafting and working with her hands made mechanical engineering a great choice. She’ll also be looking to add a Texas t-shirt to her collection of one from every state she’s visited. There should be plenty to choose from on the Exhibit floor!
Maya Simon is a Freshman, studying Environmental Policy and Planning at the University of Iowa. She’s really committed to making lasting changes to reduce the impact that humans have been making on the environment. I doubt she’ll bring her unicycle to Dallas, but between that and stilt-walking, she could do really well in the circus! (And as she is about to learn, SC is something of a circus too!) We know she’ll put her degree to work so that generations to come can enjoy rock climbing and other outdoor activities as much as she does.
Thomas Johnson III is a Junior, studying Mathematics and Computer Science at Elizabeth City State University. He was hooked on computer science from his first class, and took to math immediately when he experienced Calculus. Growing up, he wanted to be an inventor – and he still does, but he’ll use his CS and Math degrees to invent hardware and software that others can use to succeed. When he’s not watching Godzilla movies, Thomas can be found drawing or meditating. These hobbies might come in handy during the stress of the competition, so we know he’s well-prepared.
Clara-Nathele Trainer is a Junior, studying Forensic Science at Chaminade University of Honolulu. She’s always had an interest in morbid things, and has even done an internship at a mortuary. (Are we meeting CSI: The Next Generation?) Clara wanted to be a meteorologist when she was younger. When she’s not out looking at the stars, she’s taking care of the animals at the local Humane Society, or watching her fish, oddly named Pork Chowder. Look out for Clara when she heads to SC18 – you’ll recognize her by her colorful socks!
Watch this blog next week for more student profiles!