Senior Specials – Sri in Computer Science
Now that I’m entering my senior year of college (I cannot believe I’m typing this), I wanted to write a series on successful senior students that I have encountered during my time at U of I. This way, I hope to show prospective students and incoming freshmen some of the paths that individuals have carved here during their time in Urbana-Champaign and what they hope to do afterwards.
I actually met Sri in high school – we were in Honors Biology together in 9th grade! I loved reconnecting with her here at U of I, and her story in computer science is extremely inspirational. Take it away, Sri!
Name: Sri V.
Hometown: Naperville, Illinois
High School: Metea Valley High School
What was your major/s and career goals when you first came to the University of Illinois?
In high school, I took a single computer science course and was intrigued. That, coupled with my love for math, made my decision for a college career very simple. I wanted to study both math and computer science.
What is your current major and current goals for your career?
Major in Computer Science, Minor in Mathematics.
What extracurricular activities are you involved in at U of I?
ACM and HackIllinois.
How did you get involved with those RSOs?
HackIllinois is something that I have worked to grown during my years at UIUC. It was started by a few students who saw the talent that existed within the walls of UIUC and realized how driven and eager students were to create amazing projects. HackIllinois is a hackathon where students from across the country come to compete for company prizes by building software or hardware projects in the span of 36 hours. Each year, we have steadily grown and hosted over 900 students this past February.
As a computer science student who works with these brilliant students on a day-to-day basis, I was passionate about creating an outlet where such talent can be showcased. Today, HackIllinois stands as one of UIUC’s flagship events.
Have you held any internships or job-shadowing positions so far?
I interned at State Farm during my sophomore year Fall semester. Over the summer of 2014, I interned at Jump Trading – a high frequency trading firm in Chicago. This summer, I’m in the sunny city of Seattle interning at Microsoft.
Have you held any jobs on or off campus during your time in college?
Yep! I was working in State Farm at Research Park during my sophomore year.
If you could go back in time to the summer before your freshman year, what advice would you give yourself?
Have fun! One of the things I wish I did more of was spend time with my family and high school friends. After college starts, you won’t realize how little time you have. So really do share those special moments with your family and friends before you go your way and they theirs.
Do you have any regrets about the past three years at U of I?
I wish I called my mom more often. Call your mom. Trust me, just take a minute out of your life and do that. It’ll mean the world to them, and it’ll make you feel great. Having the support of your family during your time at college is the best thing in the world. And you are a critical piece in that relationship.
In academics, I was a terrible procrastinator. And though we all promise ourselves that we won’t be, it takes true effort to make sure we aren’t. Work actively to make sure you begin early and finish your work early. That way, you have the weekends to yourself.
What is your favorite thing to do in your free time at college?
Going to coffee shops! There are some amazing coffee spots around campus that have the nicest people and most incredible coffee. Just grab a friend, a book maybe, or even your laptop and head over to downtown Champaign or Urbana.
I’d highly recommend Café Kopi in Champaign and Flying Coffee Machine in Urbana.
Best food on campus?
Does Thursday Yellow Curry Day at Bangkok Thai count?
What is your favorite place on campus?
Best view, plus best study spot: Siebel Center of Computer Science Conference room 4124. It’s amazing.
Favorite memory so far?
Though they say nothing good ever happens after 2am, there was an exception to this rule once. One day, at 2am, the quad was filled with sprinklers. No harm in having a little fun. It is a thrill to finish up that last minute essay and run around through the quad with some great friends. Don’t believe it? Try it.
Proudest moment during your collegiate career?
My junior year, I was a project manager for Eng 315 (Learning in Community) where numerous students from various disciplines worked on defluoridation and sanitation projects in partnership with NGOs in India. During Spring Break, we went to Jaipur to conduct fieldwork and host focus groups. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
It was incredible to learn so much about the culture and the way of life there – and to actually collect data that would be useful for the NGOs like UNICEF. Furthermore, the students who came to Jaipur with us had never travelled internationally, let alone to rural villages in India. It was a huge culture shock and they learned so much through the experience. It felt amazing to be part of the experience.