Diversity as a Computer Science Major

Author: Seun Odun-Ayo

Being an Engineering student at Notre Dame is a rewarding, challenging, 40-hour, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. full-time job. From the continuous homework, multiple exams, and presentation each week, it can be easy to get burnt out on campus. It’s even easier on a campus that often visibly lacks diversity in its engineering department.

However, thanks to Notre Dame Engineering program, I had the opportunity to attend the Richard Tapia Conference in Orlando, FL, and the whole point of the conference is to acknowledge, promote and celebrate diversity in Computer Science!

The trip began with a professor reaching out to me and other students with the opportunity to attend the conference. Personally, I not only saw the chance to skip a day of class on a University excused absence but, more important get the diversity I have been craving here at Notre Dame.

It began at 5 a.m., yes -- 5 a.m., on a Wednesday morning. Myself and five other Notre Dame students hopped on a flight to Florida, stopping once in Dallas, TX. Once we arrived in Florida we then stayed at a nice hotel, which allowed a chance to relax between the busy events we were attending.

On Wednesday night, we attended a keynote speech with various CEOs of multiple technology companies.

On Thursday, the majority of my day was spent speaking to various career representatives from companies I have been dreaming of working at for my whole life. Instead of being in my regularly scheduled philosophy class, I was making lifelong connections with recruiters and software engineers from IBM, JP Morgan, and Microsoft. The best part of these connections were the chances to actually interview for summer internships and full-time jobs with these companies while at the conference.

While Thursday was a networking and interviewing day, Friday was a mostly learning day! Notre Dame does a great job teaching you the skills to be successful in the industry. However, with so many students in a fast-paced environment, it is impossible to dive deeply into what it takes to truly stand out after Notre Dame. Friday at the conference taught me tips and tricks to be a better engineer for every future company regardless of the university I went to.

All work and no play… I really don’t know the rest. Although, the conference was a great learning experience, I, alongside fellow ND students, had to have some fun while in Orlando. Friday evening was reserved for visiting the world renowned Top Golf. Following my evening there, I know no longer needed to wonder about a potential career as a professional golfer...

Attending the Tapia Conference will be one of my greatest memories of Notre Dame because it highlights the importance that ND is constantly placing on improving diversity within the college. The workshops, interviews, Top Golf fun and mostly seeing other engineers that look like me truly rejuvenated my pursuit of this Notre Dame Degree.