For the past two years, Intertech Foundation has provided a $2,500 scholarship to an exceptional college-bound young woman planning to study computer science. Last year we awarded the Intertech Foundation STEM scholarship to an impressive high school senior named Annina Hanlon.
Annina, now a student at Stanford, has successfully battled cancer and channeled her personal health challenge into an innovative iPhone app to help raise funds for pediatric cancer research. Her career goal is to (continue to!) combine science and technology in ways that help humanity.
This year, the Intertech Foundation STEM scholarship has been awarded to Alexina Boudreaux-Allen, another outstanding student with innovative dreams involving technology and the arts. Read on to learn how Alexina plans to use technology to make a difference in the world:
- Why computer science?
I am interested in computer science because I enjoy coding and think that learning to code will provide me with a way to share ideas with a global community.
- How did you first get interested in coding?
In high school I enrolled in AP Computer Science during my senior year. I thought it sounded like an interesting class (although) I had no prior experience with the subject. This class ended up being the most enjoyable class I took in high school. So I decided to pursue my newfound passion for computer science in college.
- Why do you want to attend USC?
I selected the University of Southern California because it provides me with the unique opportunity to pursue both technology and the arts. Through the engineering school I take computer science classes for my major, through the music school I can take computer recording and editing classes, and through the film school I can take 3D animation classes. I think it is important to integrate technology and art, and the best place for me to do that is USC.
- What is the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT)?
The USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) is an academic research institute that collaborates film and game artists with computer and social scientists to find ways to digitally improve mental help therapy, military preparation, and other services. I want to intern at ICT because it would provide me with a great way to explore a meaningful real-life integration of art and computer science.
- Can you give an example of how you might combine computer science and art?
One example I have in mind is a virtual reality program for musicians where they can work on getting over stage fright. In this program, the user would put on VR goggles and play an instrument and be able to play in front of a “real” (virtual) audience. This could also be used as a fun program rather than just a therapeutic one, and it possibly could incent kids to learn to play real instruments rather than video game versions, such as Rock Band. Hopefully after studying music and computer science at USC, I will be able to integrate these two fields in a way that can positively impact the community around me.
- How useful will the Intertech Foundation scholarship be in funding your studies?
Although I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else for college, the University of Southern California is very expensive. The Intertech Foundation scholarship puts me one step closer towards graduating loan-free, and I am very grateful to be receiving the award.
- How do you feel about entering a male-dominated field?
Computer science is a male-dominated field, and often times, as a woman, I find myself receiving help that I do not want and never asked for. In order to really learn something, it is important to make mistakes. So, when coding, don’t be afraid to mess up and do something wrong. Be confident in your abilities and take some time to try solve your mistakes on your own!
Congratulations Alexina. We look forward to hearing great things from you in the future!