Camila Garcia-Novelli

Computer Science & Engineering
Degree pursuing: BS/MS in computer science
Hometown: Racine, Wisconsin

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate engineering degree?
I wanted to keep my options open for the future. WashU makes it really easy to do the combined bachelor’s and master’s degree, and a master's degree will allow me to more easily transition to a teaching role in the future if I ever choose to do so.

Why did you pick WashU?
A combination of general vibe and finances. Everyone I talked to spoke wonders about the people who go here (rightfully so), and I loved the beautiful, calming campus. Fortunately, WashU also ended up offering me the best financial package of the colleges I got into.

What was your favorite course and why?
I've taken several great computer science courses, but the classes that I think about most are the fun, interesting electives I've taken — everything from Chinese calligraphy to American Sign Language. If I had to choose a favorite, I'd say “Positive Psychology,” because I learned so much useful knowledge that I continue to use on a consistent basis. Tim Bono, PhD, the instructor, presented everything in an incredibly engaging, meaningful and approachable way.

Who is your favorite instructor and why?
I've had so many fantastic professors who were so engaging that they could read a phone book and I would find it interesting: Glenn MacDonald in the Olin Business School; Tim Bono in Arts & Sciences; and Patrick Crowley in McKelvey Engineering to name a few. The instructor who holds a special place in my heart is Dennis Cosgrove. He inspires so much happiness and laughter, and the care for his students really comes through with every interaction.

What advice would you give to a new student?
Start running your life through a digital calendar. There are so many events that you need to remember in college, and it's such a relief to offload that responsibility to something that has a perfect memory. Also, everyone says it, but join student groups! Audition, try out or join email lists and then actually go to the events. It's the best way of meeting people.

What is your favorite thing about St. Louis?
St. Louis has everything I want in a city while being extremely affordable. It's big enough that artists regularly come through town and are often playing more intimate venues than they would in a larger city. There's a fantastic food scene here with delicious, authentic restaurants of so many different cultures. I feel like I've barely scratched the surface of all the cool things there are to do in the area. Even with all of that, rent and food is much cheaper than it is for any of my other college-age friends, whether they live in a big city or a college town.

What campus activities or groups would you recommend to a new student?
I would recommend starting with what you like doing and joining whatever groups align with that. If you like to sing, there's a strong a cappella scene. If you like to dance, we have several great opportunities: groups like WashU Hip Hop Union, WU Sauce and WUFuego, along with one-off commitments for the annual cultural shows like the Lunar New Year Festival and Carnaval. If you're sporty, I'd recommend the Ultimate Frisbee teams.

Do you have any work history?
I've had several software engineering internships: two through Facebook (one of which was Facebook University for Engineers), two through Asana and one through IMC Trading. I'd particularly like to shout out McKelvey Engineering's co-op program, which allowed me to take a semester off from classes to do an internship while maintaining student status.

What are your plans for the future?
I'm planning to graduate with my bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in December, take the spring semester off to travel and start my job as a software engineer with IMC Trading in the summer.