Jisa Jose was 16 when she and her family moved to the United States from India where she was born and had lived most of her life.
“The culture shock was real,” she says. “English, being my second language, was extra tough. All I could do was try my best.”
Jisa did exactly that and embraced the new challenges she faced with a positive, can-do attitude. She tackled difficult high school courses, including two Advanced Placement computer science classes, with drive and determination. All of Jisa’s hard work paid off when she graduated with a 4.0 GPA.
Her growing interest in computer science inspired her to major in it at St. Thomas Aquinas College. “Computers are an integral part of everything we do,” she says. “The idea of using technology to solve problems always fascinates me.” Initially, Jisa wanted to pursue cyber security, but after taking several computer science courses, she developed an interest in back-end web development. While it’s a possibility, she hasn’t decided which career path she’s going to take after she graduates in May 2021.
Jisa’s excellent academic performance has been acknowledged with several scholarships. She is the recipient of the Rockland County Club Scholarship, the STAC Dean’s Grant, and a STAC Academic Scholarship, as well as the Grace Hopper Scholarship, an award for female college students pursuing computer science and technology.
“Jisa is an outstanding and hardworking student who goes above and beyond,” says Adjunct Computer Science Instructor Paola Garcia Cardenas. “Recently, she was selected as a Grace Hopper Conference 2020 Scholar. The Grace Hopper Celebration is the world’s largest gathering of women in technology. I had the honor to recommend Jisa and was very happy and proud when she was selected for such a prestigious award.”
Throughout her college years, Jisa worked with Orange and Rockland Utilities as a computer aide and as an emerging technology intern at STAC. In that position, she taught children about drones, robots, and virtual reality, and facilitated group activities.
“Besides her problem-solving skills, Jisa is driven to obtain new skills and knowledge,” says Computer Science Professor Robert Vermilyer. “Her growth mindset has inspired her peers to adopt that valuable perspective, too. I am certain that she will have a very successful career as a computer scientist.”
When she’s not working on coding or web design projects, Jisa listens to audiobooks, works out, and hikes at Bear Mountain and Hook Mountain. “Hiking is one of my favorite things to do,” Jisa says. “To say I love mountains and water views is an understatement. I also love extreme adventures that force me to go out of my comfort zone.”
She’s already ticked skydiving off of her wish list, an experience she says is impossible to describe in words, but it was one of the best things she has ever done. Next up? Ziplining and scuba diving.
Not surprisingly, Jisa’s advice to future college students is to work hard and give it your best. “Even when you feel like giving up, just hold on a little longer,” she says. “Trust me, everything will be worth it in the end.”