When Bruktawit “Bruk” Abebe was considering swapping her English major, she was torn between computer science and biology–two fascinating new areas that she was just starting to explore. She chose computer science for the array of career opportunities the field offers, and how it combines one’s creative and problem-solving skills.
“I came in as an English major with the aim of becoming a writer, but my career path has changed since attending St. Thomas Aquinas College,” she says. “The various resources, the classes I took, and talking to different staff members have helped me broaden my horizons.”
Through conversations with Brett Karopczyc, a computer science lecturer at STAC, Bruk was able to ease into the program and start planning for her future. The program’s natural sciences course requirement uncovered her passion for biology, which she added as a minor.
“As he is my academic advisor, talking to him about the computer science field and discussing possible career paths has given me more insight into the program, and what I should expect once I graduate,” she says.
Professor Karopczyc says that Bruk has embraced the program’s challenges, such as learning programming languages C++ and Python simultaneously and that her attention to detail and problem-solving skills make her a great fit for the field. “Bruk’s journey is a reminder that when you take the opportunities at STAC and add a curious mind open to new challenges, amazing new worlds open up,” he says.
As an international student, Bruk was drawn to STAC’s tight-knit community. The Hawassa, Ethiopia native appreciates the one-on-one experiences she’s able to have with her peers and mentors in her classes. The College’s proximity to New York City was another deciding factor in Bruk’s college choice, who likes the city’s busy lifestyle. She also enjoys meeting people from various cultures off campus as well as on campus where she is a member of STAC’s International Students Organization.
“The warm and kind community at STAC has made my adjustment easier,” Bruk says. “There is never a shortage of events and fun activities to take part in. The many resources, as well as the international student culture, have assured me I have a place here.”
Apart from her studies, Bruk interns in STAC’s Department of Enrollment Marketing and Campus Communications as part of the website redesign team. Through hands-on duties, such as preparing the College’s extensive directory and building website pages, she is already expanding her résumé with real-world experiences.
Last summer, Bruk served as a counselor at STAC’s Summer STEM Camps for high school students. The camp offers activities in the sciences, technology, arts, and mathematics that focus on problem-solving, teamwork, and communication. Bruk led STEM and extra-curricular activities for students and, as a representative of the computer science major, answered questions for campers who expressed interest in the field.
In the future, Bruk hopes to work in artificial intelligence, web design, or a career that allows her to combine her interests in computer science and biology. Though her plans shifted away from becoming a writer, she still enjoys reading and writing stories in her spare time. She also likes going for walks, playing basketball, cooking, and baking.