5 min read

Walking the Walk (3 times!) 🎓

Graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst

A little more than a month ago, I graduated from UMass in 2019 with a B.S. in Informatics & Data Science! After four years I’m officially on the other side with a degree. I’m extremely proud of how far I’ve come! Countless friends, faculty, and family members made my undergraduate experience an unforgettable one.

My undergraduate path at UMass is particularly special to me because it was my own. Although I started college with ideas and suggestions from friends and family, I couldn’t just do what I was told; I knew that I had to pursue what made sense to me in order to fulfill my dreams and goals.

My Time at UMass

In retrospect, chunks of my undergraduate career at UMass was inspired by a saying shared by Professor Alexandrina Deschamps during my freshman year: “Make this big university small!”. I found myself repeating these words countless times over the past four years. By small, Professor Deschamps meant that I should find my niche in the sea of opportunities offered by UMass.

In this niche, I valued mentorship, loved everything about technology, and found joy in paving my own way. All of this manifested in me becoming a peer mentor for the informatics major, mentoring STEM students in the UMass STEM Ambassadors Program, giving life to tech ventures, and carrying out a VR oriented honors thesis.

The choices that defined this niche also made it possible to carry out bioinformatics research, make the most out of summer internship opportunities, highlight computing careers and professionals at UMass, switch majors as a freshman (from biology to informatics and data science), and so much more!

I am extremely grateful for all of the experiences and people that I encountered at UMass! Ultimately, by focusing on what mattered to me, I was able to build a foundation that currently supports my big dreams, ideas, and endeavors moving forward.

My 3 Graduation Ceremonies

Everything that I did over the past 4 years culminated in an amazing 3 day event that I was able to share with friends, family, and faculty members.

I will always cherish these days, the hugs, the smiles, the food, the pictures, and being able to celebrate with the people I am genuinely grateful for and love.

Without them, this journey simply would not be possible! Period!

The Celebration of Excellence: This ceremony celebrates the successful completion of the Commonwealth Honors College (CHC) curriculum and one’s honors thesis (or project).

It was Professor Deschamps that encouraged me to apply to CHC as a first semester freshman. In retrospect, having extra challenges and a supportive environment to grow definitely made a difference in my undergraduate career.

I will always appreciate the opportunities, the scholarships, the professors, the friends, the experiences, and memories that were brought into my life because of my time in CHC.

UMass Amherst - Celebration of Excellence (2019)

The 2019 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony: The UMass Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony was a sight to behold! Seeing the whole senior class in one place was awe-inspiring and the environment was electric! You could feel the air vibrate when we cheered. The magnitude of shifting my tassel in sync with one of the largest senior classes that UMass has ever seen was not lost on me!

Leading my college, the College of Information & Computer Sciences (CICS), into McGuirk Stadium was undeniably incredible and unforgettable.

UMass Amherst - Undergraduate Commencement (2019)

The CICS Senior Celebration: This celebration was the one that meant the most to me. It was a personalized celebration that highlighted the achievements of the seniors in CICS.

To my surprise, I was recognized several times!

  • During the ceremony introduction, the dean of CICS, Laura Haas, gave my honors thesis work an awesome shout-out!

  • Dr. Michelle Trim (aka student champion extraordinaire and the CICS Informatics Program Associate Director) awarded me a 2019 Leadership Certificate for my peer advising efforts in the Informatics major! I could not have asked for a better role than peer advisor as an undergrad. Being able to help out my fellow peers via email and in-person nearly everyday was always rewarding and definitely worth it. As a professional, I wholeheartedly intend to continue mentoring and advising others.

  • I was also honored with a 2019 Outstanding Undergraduate Achievement Award! This distinction was really special for me; it highlighted all of my achievements and successes in CICS.

UMass Amherst - CICS Senior Celebration (2019)

What’s next?

I am currently working as a junior data scientist in Amherst, MA at MassMutual! I am a member of the 6th Data Science Development Program (DSDP) cohort.

Through the DSDP, I plan on becoming a data scientist that is equipped to handle today’s ever-growing list of computational challenges. At the same time, I will be sponsored by MassMutual to return to UMass to get an M.S. in Computer Science! 🤩🎉

As I charter my course and embark on this journey, I definitely plan on holding onto the things that make me excited and pull all-nighters. I want to keep all the interests and strengths that I discovered as an undergrad and see how they flourish in the coming years. I want to improve where I fall short and look back someday to see where and how far I’ve come.

And when I do, it will be a path of my own design. 🌱