First Name

Maria

Last Name

T.

Bio

System.out.println(“Hello world”). This was the first line of code I ever wrote, and I’ve been hooked ever since. My AP Computer Science teacher Mrs. Juarez exposed me to Java object-oriented programming and visually interactive interfaces, nourishing my interest in computer science until it transformed into a passion. My bond with Mrs. Juarez and my hard work in class earned me the AP Computer Science award from my school. My teacher pushed me to get involved in coding competitions, which helped me to realize the value of teamwork in computer science – collaborating with fellow programmers, evaluating each other’s ideas, and attempting to translate our strategies into coherent code is all part of the fun of computer programming. The coding competitions inspired my friend Angie and me to create and lead a computer science club at our high school that would train its members for coding competitions. For our service project, our club volunteered at a STEM night for elementary school children, trying to get them interested in computer science and teaching them the basics of coding through MIT’s Scratch language and code.org. This experience allowed me to share my appetite for coding with kids who may not have been exposed to computer science until high school or later. I was able to gain real world experience in the computer science industry with my internship at Protegga, a private computer forensics firm. By observing and assisting with forensic investigations ranging from imaging an iPhone to perusing a defendant’s email account, I learned my way around the special tools used by computer forensic experts in their investigations. My mentor also educated me about hardware and the inner workings of computers and hard drives. I have made it a point to dabble in the humanities in addition to exploring the wider field of STEM; both involve the expression of ideas and the exploration of new and innovative ways of thinking. My experience designing and teaching elementary school curriculum on careers in math and science inspired me to help a friend create a National Science Honors Society club at my school, with the hope that we could bring the discussion about STEM careers to our classmates. I am also a member of Mu Alpha Theta, a math club that participates in regional competitions by taking quizzes every month or so. My interest in the humanities is evident in how I spent my free time: painting, reading, watching movies, playing guitar, and attending concerts. I have tried to challenge myself with my coursework in both disciplines by taking the hardest classes offered to me; these include AP Calculus BC, AP Physics C, AP U.S. History, and AP Language and Composition. I plan to major in computer science engineering in college. My dream is to travel far away from home, across the country or maybe even to the UK. As I love to travel and gain foreign experiences, I hope to study abroad as I pursue my computer science degree. I'm excited and nervous to be placed in an environment where everyone is as enthusiastic about coding as I am, and I hope that I will be properly prepared for a successful career as a computer programmer.