"Don’t waste your time in high school. 4 years is a lot of time to learn and grow alongside high school. Make this time useful."
Freshman Intro to Engineering Project: Had 10 weeks to design, build, code and launch a quadcopter.
My career roadmap has been somewhat defined.
I always knew I wanted to go either in the engineering or medical field, but did not know where exactly. My dad told me about the rise in nanotechnology in medicine, and felt that was the career path to go for.
The rise in self-driving cars and Machine Learning caught my eye. While I had no experience in programming, I thought it was really cool at the time, so I started to pursue Computer Science.
After taking my first computer science class in Java, I ended up hating it and looked into other careers such as business.I gave computer science a second try, and ended up loving it. I looked more into the hardware side of computers, however.
After 3 years at AOC, I was able to receive an AA in Liberal Arts and Sciences and an AS in Mathematics.
My first two quarters of college were rougher than what I had ever expected. However, it taught me how to study for “college” exams which can be much harder than what they teach in lecture.
First hackathon where I had to learn a completely new programming language and work on a project my group and I did not know how to do. Even though we ended up not finishing it, we learned a lot about how technologies such as AWS works.
Learning C and assembly in college really affirmed my belief that Computer Engineering was perfect for me. It really taught me how instructions are fetched and processed by a computer. It also led me to Embedded Systems, which is all about efficiency and resource management.
After months of applying, I was able to get my first internship at a startup company.
Here are my extracurriculars relevant to this pathway
DURING MY HIGH SCHOOL CAREER
Tutoring Service to local elementary/middle/high school students in mathematics
Experimenting with Python and Java code (Very Basic Level)
Made my first very basic HTML/CSS webpage.
DURING MY COLLEGE CAREER
QuickSplit: Mobile app (IOS/Android) that allows roommates/groups to split costs easily. Just scan your receipt and our image processing algorithm (still in development) will parse through the receipt and be stored. At the end of the month/week each member will pay their difference through Venmo, CashApp, etc.
UAVForge UCI - (Ground Station Software Engineer): Designing a UAV that uses a Raspberry Pi (microcontroller) to identify shapes/color/letters from the 100 ft in the air as well as identify events such as a fire, crime, etc. (Currently developing our own CNN (Convolution Neural Network) to identify such events instead of a pre-made model))
Internship at a startup (Can’t speak too much on this) Working on creating React web pages and developing machine learning algorithms and neural network models.
What I'm currently doing/hope to do
As I am approaching my third year into UCI, I plan to work on more projects and further my knowledge in more complex fields such as AI/ML. Currently, I am working for a small startup company where I work as a React (front-end) intern and an AI/ML intern. I am currently still experimenting with the different fields within computer engineering/science and seeing what interests me the most. At the moment, embedded systems have really caught my eye, specifically within self-driving cars. I am more so into the hardware side of AI/ML and understanding the hardware logic needed to make neural network models run efficiently on such systems. This is why I have recently begun learning about machine learning. My dream has always been to work for a company like Tesla, which has been in the forefront for self-driving cars for the last few years. Hopefully, after graduation, I can achieve this goal of mine and be able to develop the next evolution of self-driving cars. While I have learned a lot, I am nowhere near close to being where I want to be and still have a long way to go.
How to maximize my time in high school?
Advice #1: Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. This will push you and make you want to be as good as them.
Advice #2: Getting good grades in High School is not enough to prosper in college. Work on projects/events you are passionate about.
Advice #3: If you are going into the hardware side (EE or CE), start learning a little bit about Python and start experimenting with a Raspberry Pi. There are so many resources to learn with. (Get familiar with Linux as well)
Advice #4: Talk with engineers or people who work in the industry. Even though what they may say might be too advanced, Google it. I found this to be the best way to learn.
Advice #5: Don’t waste your time in high school. 4 years is a lot of time to learn and grow alongside high school. Make this time useful.