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Shruti Jain: Undergraduate

What do you like most about Baskin Engineering?

Baskin School of Engineering is a lovely place, physically, and it’s a great place to challenge yourself. You can really push yourself, and you have great resources around you. The professors are great, your peers are great, you have amazing facilities here. Baskin is the place where I find I can push myself above and beyond to be successful.

What advice do you have for incoming students?

My advice for incoming students would be to go beyond your comfort zone and explore all the amazing opportunities present on campus. It can be overwhelming at first to see, “Which direction should I go? Who should I approach? What should I do?” But I truly believe that if you put yourself out there, try to find your path by exploring and trying new things, you’re going to have an amazing time here.

I think the most important thing for a female computer science student to remember is that no one can stop you from doing what you want to do. There are so many classes, professors, facilities, and opportunities on this campus that if you want to do something, you can do it.

Where do you go for help when you’re struggling with something?

I’ve learned after a lot of experience that your professors and TAs are your best friends when you need help. I definitely say office hours, lab sections, that is the place to go when you feel like you’re struggling or you need some help.

What would be your dream job after graduation?

My dream job would be working with Disney. I’m a huge Disney fanatic and I’d love to be part of the story making journey that Disney has and make the lives of people all ages more special through technology. If you go to the Disney parks, most of what you see around you, be it the rides, the technology—like fastpass, or even the magical experiences you have at the castle, all of it is powered by some aspect of machine learning or artificial intelligence. It’s mind-boggling to go behind the scenes and see that all happen. I had the opportunity to learn more about it through my experience through the Grace Hopper program this summer and it was truly amazing to hear more about the behind-the-scenes happenings at the parks. So, I’d love to be a part of that magical experience Disney creates.

Why do you want to be an engineer?

I want to be able to connect the creative side of things with the computing side. I’m in the position now where I’m still exploring the different specializations within the field of computer science, but I definitely want to be able to contribute to the world and make things more efficient. We’re making really big, cool inventions and things that make life easier, but at the same time there are bumps in the road, as we’re introducing different problems in terms of health and the way technology is affecting people negatively. So, I want to be able to find something I can do to bridge this gap and lessen the negative effects technology is having on humans. I want to pursue this interest in creating new things but at the same time, not harm people.

What do you like about engineering?

I like having the freedom to solve problems in multiple ways. There’s never just one way in computer science to solve a problem. I’ve been able to explore different tactics and technical skills, and I’ve learned a lot from other people around me. At the same time I’ve been able to develop my own perspective on how to approach and solve a problem. So, being able to have all this freedom and being able to express myself creatively and technically is really interesting and I want to be able to pursue that for a while.

What kind of opportunities have you experienced while at UC Santa Cruz?

I had the opportunity to intern at two companies this summer and UC Santa Cruz prepared me for them. I also had the honor of becoming a BESA [Baskin Engineering Student Ambassador] ambassador and there are a lot of opportunities with that as well. We got to host Google and Intel, for example, and network with the engineers here, so that was really exciting to get some face time with engineers from some amazing companies and just being able to be part of the decisions being made for the students like me at Baskin School of Engineering is truly an incredible experience.

Computer Science and Engineering
Degree Program: 
B.S., Computer Science
Place of Birth: 
Fremont, CA
Undergraduate Institution: 
UC Santa Cruz