Why did you come to Illinois Tech?
I’ve lived in Chicago my whole life and always knew about Illinois Tech. I became truly interested in attending there during my junior year of high school, after Illinois Tech presented at a college fair I attended.
Why did you choose your major and specialization?
I love to code and wanted to be a software developer since high school. When I came to Illinois Tech, I thought that meant that I need to join the Computer Science (CS) department. However, I joined the Information Technology Management program because ITM requires fewer math and theory extensive courses. I am honestly happy I made that decision because my ITM courses have challenged and excited me. Also, I find theory boring.
What is your favorite thing about being a student at Illinois Tech?
I love the location of campus! It is in the middle of everything exciting in Chicago. Every Sunday I leave my dorm and explore the city. Most of the time go to Roosevelt/State and I grab a cup of coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts and a donut from Stan’s (local favorite). Sometimes I take the Red Line and grab custom pizza from Blaze on the north side. If I want to exercise I run to 31st Street Beach or bike the Lakefront Trail.
How are the courses like? How do they help you? (Prepare for jobs/career)
My ITM courses are mostly labs, where teachers show you how to code. The professor usually demos what you will do for homework, however, homework is more challenging than the demos. Sometimes the professors will also add an extra requirement designed to make you think and do research. I am not the best coder in the world, however, I know that if I am given an assignment I can figure out how to do it well.
How is campus life? What do you like to do?
I am involved in many clubs on campus, but my favorite is Black Student Union (where I am currently President). Black Student Union is where African, African-American, and Caribbean Students gather to have fun and talk about our culture. We plan events so other students on campus can learn about Black history and excellence, while having fun. I am also a part of the Illinois Tech Track Team, where I long jump and run in a multitude of events. In both clubs I have found a home and amazing friends the support me in school and in life.
Do/did you have an on-campus job? If so, what?
Yes, I work for Graduate Admissions as a Student Assistant.
What type of projects or innovation have you done while at Illinois Tech?
A lot of the projects I’ve done while at Illinois Tech have been in the classroom. I created banking applications, built my own professional website, and created complex designs with Canvas.js. Right now, I am creating a website for Illinois Tech called Hawkstagram, where faculty and students can upload university photos and tag each other in them. I am mostly working the CSS and PHP for this project.
I am also working with a friend to create weather application that will collect and analyze data using the Weather Channel API. She wants it for a research project that she is doing about 31st beach. Most of the application is design with PHP and Java, but I also get to do a little bit of scripting to make sure the application runs at certain times each day while the computer is on.
What is your proudest moment as a student?
I think my proudest moments are as I approach the end of my undergraduate career. It is scary to look into the future at the real world, however, I know I will be prepared for whatever comes next. I have the opportunity to graduate a semester early with a good GPA from a premier university. Many members of my family have not been as fortunate to make it this far, so I am understandably grateful.
If I could do 1 thing over again it would be….
I would have taken more hardware classes. Many people believe that there is a hard divide between hardware and software, but understanding both can make you a better programmer. While I do know enough about hardware to make purchasing decisions about computer bases on spec, I think it remains the area that I am the weakest in.
What is the biggest challenge you faced as a student?
I spent most of life in Selective Enrollment Programs in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) so I had many years of college preparation. No one ever told me, however, that there is more than just college to juggle. I would have plenty of time for school if I didn't have track meets, meetings, work, friends, a life. Also, I wouldn’t be as happy. Time management is a thing you will hear about a lot at Illinois Tech. For me that means deleting Hearthstone from my phone and having my sister change the Netflix password during midterms and finals weeks. Finding the right balance between work, play and sleep is always a challenge, one that won’t go away when I graduate.
What do you want to do when you graduate? (Alumni – What are doing since you graduated?)
I want to be a Web Application Developer. I have always loved the idea of creating something people will use every day. What is used more than the Internet?
Advice for other students:
Never be afraid to be alone. College is great place to learn more about yourself and what you want to be in life. While friends and love are great, at the end of the day you have to learn to be comfortable with yourself. Sometimes people are afraid to go places or attend events on their own, however, often that is when I have the most rewarding experiences.