What do you do?
I am a Masters student studying Computer Science at Babes-Bolyai University. I continued my studies because I want to learn as much as possible about Math related fields of Computer Science, and I also want to connect with like-minded people, with high aspirations. I work in Machine Learning for autonomous driving, which means that we expect that machines can react intelligently to previously not seen situations too and it can "think" beyond the written code. I am also interested in Computer Graphics, low level programming, GPGPU, hardware, etc. almost anything computer related.
Why did you choose this field?
Initially, I wanted to become a neuroscientist and research the causes of cancer. The special moment when I realized that medical school would fit me was in seventh grade, when I won the county phase of the Biology Olympiad. After that, I won many other Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths competitions during high school. Medical school would have fit me right, because I always wanted to help people. Half a year before applying to medical school I realized that Computer Science would fit me better as I loved Maths more than any subject and I realized that I could help people through writing code too, not as directly as a doctor, but indirectly. Some of my teachers weren't happy, because they knew me well and my achievements in Biology, but I couldn't be happier with my choice.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
I am proud that I entered university as 3rd of 100 students and graduated as 3rd of 82 graduates. This was insane for me regarding the fact that I hadn't had such a strong programming background as the other students entering university.
Why do you love working in STEM?
Even if I have written a novel here, I could not describe entirely why I am so happy to be involved in this field. Firstly, entering university, I was so excited to learn as much as possible about Computer Science, from the basis of the computers to high level stuff. I wanted to know exactly how 0s and 1s build up to become this wonder we call a computer. Secondly, I love making an impact with my work, helping other people's lives, which was my dream from the very start. I also want to try out new things and new technologies, as there is something new in Computer Science every day. I have a Twitter account where I can follow the latest cool stuff that other people do and most of the times I can also download it and try it out myself. Another cool thing is that STEM people are very interesting to me, and working in STEM means that I am surrounded by those people.
Best advice for next generation?
If anyone tries to talk you out of pursuing your dreams, simply don't let them. I haven't experienced any kind of discouraging anyone from entering STEM related fields in my surroundings, but I know that this may happen in many places. You should never be scared to break down the stereotypes! If you genuinely love doing something, don't stop doing it because someone said something. You don't want to regret not following your passion.
Another thing, related to starting something new or doing something that you think you are not capable of: just start it, ask questions and try. Trial and error is the best way to learn.
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
My favorite website is Twitter - At the beginning, I started following graphics people, and the daily dose of awesomeness in my feed is just fabulous - it gives me so much motivation that I see people doing stuff from day to day.