Are you performing any research in a lab?
This summer, I performed research in Roman Garnett's lab. I worked on the development of fair Bayesian machine learning algorithms.
Why did you pick WashU?
In addition to the beautiful campus, I chose WashU because of its academic flexibility. I have a friend who declared a major in the Engineering school, then realized it wasn't for him and declared a major in the business school, only to find out that his true passion was in the art school.
I’ve changed engineering disciplines two times already and my progress towards my degree has not suffered from that. The fact that WashU allows you to explore your interests in this way was a major factor in my college decision making. Choosing a major is hard coming in as a freshman because, as much as you may think you know what you want to do, you won't truly know until you've taken some classes and talked to professors.
What was your favorite course and why?
My favorite class was Digital Logic and Computer Design. I found the content extremely interesting, and even though the labs were challenging, once I finished them, I felt truly accomplished. It was the first course that confirmed to me that I am studying what I'm supposed to be. The professor, William Richard, taught the class in a way that kept me interested but not overwhelmed.
Who is your favorite instructor and why?
One of my favorite instructors so far has been Martha Hasting. I've been lucky enough to take two courses with her, both Engineering Math A and Engineering Math B. Dr. Hasting is one of the few professors who take the time to learn each and every one of the students' names in class. You can tell she truly cares about her students and wants to make sure that every one of them understands the content. Her office hours are extremely helpful, and every time I leave her office, I can say with confidence that my questions have been answered. She is always organized, and her classes are easy to follow because of it. These are two hard topics that felt manageable because of her. I hope to take more courses taught by her in the future.
What advice would you give to a new student?
One piece of advice I would give to a new student is to ask for help. Whether it's a professor, a classmate or a friend, there's always someone willing to help. My freshman year I was too intimidated to go to my professors' office hours, even though I knew I would benefit from them. My sophomore year, I couldn't push it off any longer, and I went to one of my professor's office hours. It was life-changing. They have office hours for a reason, so take advantage of them!
What is your favorite thing about St. Louis?
St. Louis is a big city (at least much bigger than where I'm from), so I love that there are so many different things to do. If you're bored on a weekend, you can go to Forest Park, to the zoo (for free!) or to one of the many museums in St. Louis (art museum, city museum, history museum, etc.). There's always something to do. I also love the weather in St. Louis. I'm from South Texas where it's hot almost 365 days a year, so being able to experience trees changing colors in the fall and snow in the winter has been amazing.
What campus activities or groups would you recommend to a new student?
There are hundreds of organizations on campus, and it all depends on what you want to be a part of. There are cultural groups, such as the Association of Latin American Students that you can join. There are also athletic activities or groups that allow you to give back, such as Give Thanks Give Back. There are religious groups, and I recently learned there is even a student group whose sole purpose is connecting students who are from Texas! There is probably an existing group of anything you can imagine, and I recommend you join one or two to meet new friends and experience new things.
Do you have any work history?
During the school year, I have two separate jobs. One is a work-study job at the Catholic Student Center where I've been helping with their Mass & Soup events since freshman year. The other job is a tutoring job with the Engineering school, which I've also been doing since my freshman year.
What are your plans for the future?
I don't have any set plans for the future yet, but I do know that I want to go straight into working instead of continuing my education in graduate school. I'm hoping to get a job that will allow me to apply everything I've learned at WashU and also let me help people along the way.