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Melanie tosik

Computer Science masters Student, New York University

 

And - Former intern, BuzzFeed

For whoever is out there reading this, know that I believe in you.

What do you do?

I am a Masters student studying Computer Science at New York University. Currently, my job is to learn as much as possible about computer science. Ultimately, my goal is to build intelligent systems that can learn from data, especially text data. The application areas are endless; personally I have worked on search engines, ontology learning, dialog systems, content recommender systems, resume parsing software, and machine translation.

Why did you choose this field?

I stumbled into this field on accident. Growing up, I enjoyed learning different languages, so I decided to combine my interest in linguistics with the prospects of computer science, and study computational linguistics! During my undergraduate studies I ended up volunteering at an academic conference, which really inspired me to engage with the community and pursue a research-oriented career on my own.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

"I'm the first person in my family to go to college."

I had to work extra hard to figure out what it means to be successful in academia. I never thought I would be able to go to graduate school in the US (both financially and intellectually), or work for a company that people would recognize everywhere. For whoever is out there reading this, know that I believe in you.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love programming. It can be incredibly frustrating, but there is nothing like getting past a difficult challenge and being able to move forward. I spend a lot of time thinking about the structure of my code and how to make everything work together seamlessly, so delivering a finished, well-engineered product is one of the most rewarding parts of working in STEM.

Best advice for the next generation

Don’t give up. Believe in yourself. I know that any kind of science can be scary and intimidating. Math can be difficult. Computer science is not the most accessible field there is. But if you keep at it, and you will be well on your way to a very rewarding career that never gets old. All this work you put in will pay off.

Role model 

I really enjoy www.poorlydrawnlines.com