I've been at George Mason since 2011. I was born in India, so I have had a strong interest in international events and relations since a young age. Growing up in a technology-oriented household, I've also grown to recognize the importance of engineering and computers in the contemporary period.
I originally started out as a computer science, but found myself bored with learning purely engineering and mathematical material. I really wanted to learn more about things beyond computers. After switching to a Global Affairs major, I really enjoyed the material covered in the classes as well as the many discussions I participated in. I found myself better able to understand the context of daily events and explain it to my engineering friends in an approachable manner. Eventually, I found myself seeking to learn about computers again. I ultimately chose to do a double degree in Global Affairs with a concentration in Asia and Applied Computer Science with a concentration in Geography. This was a big commitment on my part and on my parents to help support my education. I chose a degree in Applied Computer Science: Geography, since it offered what I wanted most, an opportunity to put my knowledge and skills in Global Affairs to work in a quantitative and analytical manner.
Since making the decision to have dual degrees, I made it a goal to originally finish both in 4.5 years. I'm nearly there! I've had to take countless summer classes and intense 18 credit schedules to fulfill all the requirements. I’ve me many challenges along the way, but I would go back and do it all over again. With such a variety of coursework I always have to be ready to quickly change my mindset––not just day-to-day but hour-by-hour. Jumping from Chinese class to learning how to program a computer using nothing but 1's and 0's is definitely a challenge. I think I've become more versatile in my skillset and in my approach to learning new things as a result.
This past summer I worked as a data intern and got to work with some great open source data called GDELT. This data contains over 100k of daily events around the world, so it was a great opportunity to put both my interests to work. Currently, I'm in the process of applying for GMU's Masters in Data Analytics Engineering which I think really will help enhance my interdisciplinary background to a whole new level. In the long run, I'd like to continue to work with big data as a data analyst or data scientist.
After a long day of classes, I really enjoy reading books, playing a few video games, or even watching anime. In fact, anime was one of the original reasons I chose my concentration in Asian Studies for my Global Affairs major. I also enjoy spending time with my friends.
It’s important to really consider the other side of the academic sphere, because in many ways, there are big opportunities in the fusion of fields, especially as technology becomes more prevalent in our lives. The understanding to be gained beyond general course work really pays off in developing a variety of skills and mindsets (while at times stressful!).
October 19, 2015