“I really like programming and how computational thinking works,” said Anna Chi, a rising senior in computer science at Rice University. She is currently an intern at Salesforce in San Francisco, working with the company’s Cloud Computing Integration Tools team.
Chi is exploring careers in both industry and research and spent last summer working on the research team of Vivek Sarkar, the E.D. Butcher Chair in Engineering and Chair of the Department of Computer Science. She helped develop an auto-grader for homework assignments in Sarkar’s COMP 322 (Fundamentals of Parallel Programming) course.
“Rice has such a good CS department and inclusive community,” said Chi, whose extracurricular activities at Rice also closely correspond with her academic interests. “I was in the social committee of the CS Club during my sophomore year. Since few international female students lead in the club, I have sometimes felt timid making my voice heard, but I have been willing to contribute as much as I can to my CS community,” Chi said.
Participation in major-related activities is by no means a requirement for students, but it does have its perks. Chi said the women in computer science club, CSters, “first helped me get to know a lot of cool CS people, and provided platforms such as lunch talks with companies and tech interview workshops, which helped me a lot in finding an internship. I also found much advice and support in the club. One of the members, the former senior representative, has become one of my closest friends. Not to mention they sponsored our trip to the Grace Hopper conference, which was amazing!”
Aside from the comparatively non-competitive, supportive, and tight-knit environment within the CS department at Rice, Chi also commented on the quality of the teaching and attentiveness of the instructors. “My favorite thing about it [CS] is the professors and graduate students I have been working with. They are not only knowledgeable, but also patient and eager to help students.”
“I got lots of help from Prof. Vivek Sarkar, who advised my research, wrote recommendations for me, and sponsored my going to the SC Supercomputing Conference. My major advisor, Dave Johnson–he has given me lots of useful tips, and he has always been patient and ready to share his experiences with me. And Professor Devika Subramanian, she is one of my favorite professors and contributes a lot to why I love the CS department at Rice,” said Chi.
Chi has also enjoyed the structure and content of the courses she has taken, including the notoriously challenging COMP 182. “[Luay’s] lectures are amazing and he’s really organized with the class material and homework,” said Chi. She admires his strictness and the discipline of his class, because it helps reinforce an effective work ethic for this field. “I could see how he cares about students and how much we gain from his class,” she said. “He motivated me to really study algorithmic thinking and conquer the challenges that made me struggle.”
-Juliann Bi, Computer Science Assistant Publicist