Although SC20 and Computing4Change (C4C) have shifted to virtual mode, we still want to share profiles of the incredible students and mentors that will be participating in the C4C program. They hail from 10 states and US Territories, and have a wide range of diverse experiences and life goals.
Votreeshwaran Ilangovan is a junior at the University at Buffalo, studying Computer Science. He has a lot of hobbies, from filmmaking — writing scripts and directing short films — to driving sports cars to playing soccer. In his free time, he steers clear of all of these activities and sits quietly, thinking about how we live our lives, and how technology could be used to help improve the lives of people with disabilities. Votree’s role model, since the age of 10, is Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, an Indian aerospace scientist who was the 11th President of India, who once said, “All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us have equal opportunity to develop our talents.” We look forward to seeing Votree develop his talents with his teammates during C4C – and someday, maybe, to help all of us live better.
Keegan Finger is a junior at Drake University, where he is studying Physics, Mathematics, and Computer Science. While his work in computer science is teaching him about using ‘big iron’, he has also spent time focusing on real iron, as a blacksmith and metalworker. His non-academic interests range from rock climbing to cooking to board games. Keegan’s role model is his father, who seemed to know everything there was to know about computing, and inspired his son to the same levels of curiosity. That’s a trait that will serve him well in the C4C program!
Helena (Lena) Duplechin Seymour is an undergraduate at Washington State University Vancouver, where she majors in biology, neuroscience, and environmental science with minors in mathematics, zoology, chemistry, and psychology as well as certifying in mathematical biology. In addition to all of these fields of study, Lena is passionate about community science, wildlife conservation, and the biological basis of behavior in animals. Her favorite pastimes include reading and learning, and practicing old-world skills like basket weaving and blacksmithing. With all of those skills and interests, she’ll be an asset to any of the C4C teams.
Syema Ailia is a senior majoring in Computer Science at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. When she’s not studying, she likes to cook new and interesting dishes, go out for a run, or play with her cats. Her hidden talents are also cat-related — Syema likes to mimic animal sounds, like small dogs, cats, and guinea pigs. (What does a guinea pig sound like? Ask her!) One of her role models is Diana Nammi, the founder of the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organization (IKWRO) in the United Kingdom, a foundation that focuses on the need for culturally specific support, advocacy, and counseling for women from the Middle East and Afghanistan. With a role model like that, we’re sure that Syema will bring great compassion and purpose to her C4C project.
Jezreelyn Bulaklak is a senior at the University of Guam, studying Chemistry & Biology. She recently won a scholarship for her perfect 4.0 GPA, and will likely head off to medical school when she graduates. In her free time, Jezreelyn likes to binge-watch movies and TV series, go hiking, or paint her nails. She counts her father as one of her role models – although he didn’t go to college, he worked hard to provide for himself and his family, and has shown her how to be selfless, genuine, funny, and optimistic. We’re sure these traits will serve her well during the C4C program.
Marco Charles is studying Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. When he’s not studying, he spends his time with friends and family, or he can be found reading history books or long-distance running. His role model is Alan Turing, the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. We’re not sure if it will come in handy during C4C, but Marco is good at talking backward – talent that have they that discover one does how?
Sabrina Sears, a senior at Texas A&M University-Central Texas, is studying Computer Science and Computer Information Systems, with a concentration in Cybersecurity. She is a fan of the Harry Potter series and classic Disney movies, and can quote most of them word for word. Outside of Hogwarts, Sabrina might be found crocheting while watching anime. Growing up, she wanted to be a nurse, but she’s moved on from patient care to diagnosing problems with computer systems. This is exactly the kind of magic spell that might come in handy during C4C.
Trelysa Long is a junior at the University of California, Irvine, majoring in International Studies and Economics. One of our few liberal arts majors in C4C, Trelysa is also a musician who played the clarinet, violin, and guitar in high school. As an international studies major, it’s no surprise that travel is one of her favorite pastimes. Trelysa’s favorite destinations have been Austria, Vietnam, and Korea. Naturally, she has set her sights on a career in the foreign service, but first, the challenge of C4C awaits!
Jessica Zhou is a senior studying Computer Science at Washington State University. When she’s not studying, she doesn’t spend much time sitting still – she can be found distance running, trying new recipes, or thrift shopping. When she was younger, Jessica wanted to be an artist, but she has instead mastered the art of internet references, and can share an appropriate meme, blog post, or essay for just about any conversation and context. We’re betting her C4C teammates will find this skill useful when it comes to creating their final presentations.
Zoey Kaneakua is a junior, majoring in Data Science, Analytics & Visualization at Chaminade University of Honolulu. Growing up in Hawai’i, she learned to hula dance as a young girl, and later moved on to jazz and hip-hop dancing in high school. Zoey’s mother was certain that she was going to be a lawyer, and all that subliminal messaging seems to have worked — her goal is now to become an attorney and specialize in family and juvenile justice. When she’s not learning about data analytics or arguing her point of view, Zoey can be found drawing, playing video games, or going to the beach. She definitely has the right combination of skills to make a great C4C participant.
Gabriela Gonzalez is a sophomore at Texas A&M University, where she is studying Construction Science. She even thinks about construction when she’s not in class, researching new and improved building methods like 3D printing. Gabriela’s grandfather has always been her role model. He taught her that with hard work, honesty, and dedication, anything is possible, and this first-generation college student has the motivation to prove it! C4C might throw her a curveball, but we know Gabriela will be ready – her years in color guard gave her super-quick reflexes and great hand-eye coordination.
Ana Alvarez is a senior majoring in Biochemistry at California State University, Los Angeles. Her hobbies include baking — really, isn’t that chemistry in the kitchen? — painting, and spending time with her family. Growing up, Ana was fascinated by figure skating and the strength and agility that the skaters possessed. She’s also the President of the Student Health Advisory Committee at CSULA, so we know she’ll bring her leadership skills and compassion to the C4C Program.
Melyssa Fratkin, SC20 Communications Chair