Why did you choose engineering at CU Boulder?
Actually, I chose engineering and specifically computer science because I thought it would be hard for me to grasp. I was surrounded by social forces that pushed me into what they called more "right-brained" majors like business and marketing, and which I had normally excelled at. However, the summer of my junior year I applied to MOSTEC, an intro-to-engineering summer program at MIT, and was delighted by an environment where for the first time ever, I was expected to succeed at coding. I have always been interested in the brain and the way I saw my brain bending and molding in new ways to accommodate the engineering thinking process inspired me to pursue computer science further in college. Moral: If it's a little hard it's worth it.
What does #ILookLikeAnEngineer hashtag mean to you?
#ILookLikeAnEngineer tries to give visibility to the diversity of thoughts, cultural backgrounds, and life experiences that lead people to become engineers. Specifically, it speaks on the topic of representation, which means, "Do I feel comfortable doing what I do because it's expected that people who look like me succeed at it?" I think representation campaigns are really important because helping people with societal reasons to doubt themselves find role models and sources of inspiration can be pretty important in helping us keep at it, which is what you want to increase diversity of thought and innovation in these spaces.
What are three things that make you unique?
This is subjective, since we are all 'unique' in our own ways. In the workplace, I tend to stand out for having interests and experience in business, management, intellectual property, entrepreneurship and research, not just in software development. I like to see myself as an inventor.
What are your career goals?
I'm hugely interested in learning technologies, workplace optimization, and brain-machine interfaces like that pushed by Elon Musk's Neuralink. A few reaching goals I have for me in the next ten years might be: to pursue and succeed at doing a business accelerator with a start-up, to be invited as a conference speaker, to attend niche locales and meet interesting people at conferences like DEFCON and Burning Man, and to pursue a Ph.D in Cognitive Science and Computer Science. These of course, are guiding goals, and I'm excited for what's ahead.
Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
Not off the top of my head. However, I do like to journal and to get into meditation and presence. One guiding wisdom I've come to realize during COVID times is that: Often, our bodies and our selves know what we need, we just need to train our ability to listen to the self. Also, courage can be trained.
What are your hobbies?
I've been doing a bi-weekly travel tour of the Southwestern United States, full with car camping, leaving my car parked in random cities, and solo-travel. I'm in Phoenix right now and I'm quite liking it.
What do you enjoy most about engineering?
Can I say that it's a great platform for launching myself into this creator mindset and for observing and testing my own limits, interests and capabilities? Because that sounds right.
What is your favorite engineering experience?
I'm going to plug SHPE, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers at CU, for helping shape my college experience in Engineering as a really positive one. Attending the annual Professional Conference put on by SHPE every year was a great experience for: meeting connections, meeting friends, meeting great companies, having a great time with nightlife, and overall feeling really grateful for the professional resources and community. Also, a big shoutout to staff in the BOLD center for being key valuable resources for helping me do summer research and attend a research conference in Spain to present said research.
Anything else you'd like to tell us?
I'll be working at VMware in Silicon Valley after graduation, if that's of interest to you, ping me! I'm really excited to provide mentorship, answer questions, and help make connections to anyone who asks.
Andrea Chamorro, Class of 2021, Palisade High School, Computer Science