I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2017, where I received degrees in computer science (with honors), pure mathematics, and government. I was a member of the Turing Scholars, the computer science honors program at UT. I was also a pod mentor, responsible for mentoring and advising new students, introducing to the facilities and programs at UT, and helping them transition to college; and a Computer Science Ambassador; I introduced the department to prospective students and their parents.
I spent most of 2017 working on my Turing honors thesis, advised by Dr. Scott Niekum. My paper, An Artificial Intelligence Approach to Redistricting, studied the problem of drawing fair district maps through artificial intelligence. I modeled states as groups of blocks, and treated drawing districts as coming up with a mapping from blocks to districts. I used a genetic algorithm to create "gene pools" of mappings, combine them, and winnow the population down to the best candidates. I defended my thesis successfully and graduated with honors in December.
I was also a 2016 Archer Fellow, through which I spent a semester in Washington, D.C. working full-time at an internship and taking courses taught by UT professors. I was one of around 50 students selected from across the UT system, and the only math major in my cohort. As an Archer Fellow, I worked at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. There, I served as a research intern for the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, doing research for the Council and putting together events for OSTP senior staff.
I wrote for the department blog for two and a half years; some of my articles have received more than a thousand reads, and more than one student has informed me that my article on my first year at UT was the deciding factor in their decision to come to Austin. Furthermore, in Spring 2015, I had an op-ed published in the Daily Texan, UT's school newspaper; read the article here.
I'm currently a software engineer at Affirm, Inc., where I've been since March 2018. Affirm is a point-of-sale lender, which means we help people split purchases into multiple payments. I've been fortunate to have had a hand in designing the backends for most of our core products. I'm currently working on usercomms: emails, SMSes, and so on.
For the first half of 2018, I worked with Dr. Carol Fletcher at the Center for STEM Education at UT Austin. The result, a report called Preparing Texas Students for the Cyber Economy, made a series of recommendations to the Texas Education Agency and the Texas State Board of Education on how to improve the state of computer science education in Texas high schools. Those recommendations made their way to the Texas Legislature, which ended up adopting a new funding program, through which high schools can receive an additional $7,000 in funding per computer science course offered.
I worked for two summers in high school at different labs, writing code and helping conduct research. I spent a summer building the tech stack at a small real estate management company in Houston, including setting up servers for data management. I interned at Bloomberg in New York City from May until August 2014, where I worked on building a visualization tool for our volatilities data. I interned at Apple in Cupertino, CA from May until August 2015, where I worked on the Proactive Assistant team building internal tools and prototyping new software. I interned at Palantir in Washington, D.C. during summer 2016, helping US Attorneys in the Department of Justice manage their data.
I am a singer, and served as the Director of the Texas Songhorns, helping them learn new music and setting the organization's goals. (I was also our webmaster.) In December 2014, I was asked by my alma mater, St. John's School in Houston, to perform as the soloist at our Christmas mass, and sang Ralph Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Christmas Carols, a personal favorite of mine. I also play the piano, although much less diligently.
I am a massive crossword fan. I’ve done the New York Times crossword almost every day since 2014. I think my longest streak was around five months long, and I’m still not really sure what made me break it. I think there are crossword competitions, but I’ve always been very nervous to participate. I’ve also been trying to get into cryptic crosswords, but they have proven completely impenetrable.