Diva Harsoor

Computer Science & Engineering
Degree pursuing: BS in computer science
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Are you performing any research in a lab? 
Yes, in Ning Zhang's Cybersecurity & Privacy Lab.

Why did you pick WashU?
I picked WashU because it has great programs in many areas, it’s easy to explore, and the people are friendly and supportive.

What was your favorite course and why?
I loved "Introduction to Systems Software." It was my first look into the low-level aspects of computing, like bit manipulation and memory management. I can write more efficient code because now I know what’s going on under the hood.

Who is your favorite instructor and why?
Dr. Jonathan Shidal, who I’ve had for "Object-Oriented Software Development Laboratory" and currently for "Special Topics in Computer Science Theory," and who I worked under as a TA, is encouraging and knowledgeable. Both taking and TA-ing CSE 332 were central to building my confidence as a computer science student. He also recommended "Introduction to Systems Software" to me, which I listed above as my favorite class. I’m very excited for his class this semester as I’ll get the chance to work with a team on a real-world problem, and I know I’ll learn a lot, both in technical and workplace skills.

What advice would you give to a new student?
Use every resource available to you but don’t feel tied to any of them. Go to class (and do the work, including the readings), go to TA hours and work with your classmates whenever you can. There are also many types of advising (course, career, engineering, pre-health, etc), clubs, and more. After you’ve given everything a fair try, drop it if it doesn’t work for you or fit your goals. Not every form of learning works for everyone. Also, start assignments early, especially labs!

What is your favorite thing about St. Louis?
I like that so much is free (art museum, zoo, even the botanical gardens at certain times of day) and that people are relaxed and helpful.

What campus activities or groups would you recommend to a new student?
Volunteering through Campus Y and learning about the cool stuff going on in St. Louis through the Skandalaris Center’s programming

Are you presently in the workforce or have any work history? If yes, please describe.
I interned at the startup FastDemocracy two summers ago, did paid CS research on campus last summer, and have TA-ed CS courses since fall 2020.

Are there any not-for-profit agencies that you have volunteered or worked with?
I’ve worked with Saint Louis Torchbearers 2 on math and reading support for middle schoolers.

What are your plans for the future?
I’ll be working at VMWare in the Bay Area starting this July! I hope to continue learning about computer security and low-level programming, especially operating systems, perhaps by going to grad school down the line.