Aitanna Rene Parker

Aitanna Parker

What drew you to the TIM major?

I was studying Computer Science but then I discovered TIM and it was a great fit. It’s a good mix of the people side versus the STEM side, which involves coding, logic design, and working with projects. I get to work with people and present and implement my projects and see how they impact people, which is super awesome.

What do you like most about Baskin Engineering?

I like the support given to students. I feel like they really put students first. This is the only place on campus with 24 hour labs and late night open session to study. Academics come first and Baskin Engineering understands that.

Do you have study tips for other students?

Number one: Always go to office hours. You’re paying for their time, so I highly encourage you to use that time. Number two: Start studying for midterms and finals early, during week one. Look at the syllabus, always review the Sunday before classes start. That really helps you prepare and you don’t have to get ready for the midterm because you stay ready.

What advice do you have for incoming students?

Get familiar with your resource centers. There’s a lot of help out there, you really just have to take the initiative. Do a Google search, talk to somebody and ask what type of resources they use and you’ll see just how many helpful resources there are on campus. Getting involved with student orgs really helps you build community, whether it be a sorority, fraternity, an internship or becoming a BESA ambassador. It helps you find support wherever you go and it’s super helpful. 

What are your future plans?

If I go to grad school I want to do research on how technology impacts accessibility issues and how we can improve that and create a standard uniformity of accessibility. For example, some people use speech readers on their computers and that can’t always happen if you have an image-only PDF because the computer can’t read the words and understand them. But if we could create a standard of an application, say Google Docs speech readers, we can have a service for the speech readers to read these kinds of PDFs.

I also want to study oppression algorithms. Take Google, for example. Google has their users categorize things in their algorithms when people search for things. When you search “black people” you’re using thousands of other people’s inputs and tags to categorize that search for you. For the term “black people,” there are a lot of people who describe and categorize black people with racist terms. It was a really big scandal about three years ago and they haven’t fixed the problem. They haven’t had black engineers working on it. If people like me don’t have a seat at the table, we’ll keep having big problems like this.

Department: 
Computer Science and Engineering
Degree Program: 
Bachelor's of Science, Technology Management
Place of Birth: 
Sacramento
Undergraduate Institution: 
UC Santa Cruz