Rutgers senior Poorva Sampat is taking courses that are helping her excel in the field of computer security.
When not in class, she joins her fellow students at events like the biannual HackRU, which drew 1000 students in spring 2016, and at others up and down the East coast.
And as the president of the Women in Computer Science group, she’s helping blaze a trail for other women studying computer science at Rutgers.
“What I love about Rutgers is the sheer range of knowledge and experience that is available to you as an undergraduate” Sampat says. “Whether it’s through your courses, or with student groups, or through independent research, you meet a lot of people, take in a lot of information, and get the chance to find your particular passion.”
The Department of Computer Science is seeing a surge in students interested in its undergraduate courses and degree program. The program is organized around six tracks: Computing Concepts and Themes, Computer and Software Systems, Computer Security, Software Engineering and Information Management, Graphics and Vision, and Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science.
“It’s great to be able to take different courses that fall within distinct specialties,” Sampat says. “I find that very compelling.”
She recently attended a seminar given by a faculty member to students that explored how computer science is influencing the field of neuroscience.
“Though my area is computer security, these seminars really expand my horizons,” she says.
One of the department’s signature strengths is an active and supportive student community, with collaborative areas like Hack R Space and the CAVE for independent and group exploration.
Students go on to top graduate programs across the country, as well as companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Verizon.
Sampat says she ultimately wants to go to graduate school but is weighing whether to work in industry for a few years after getting her bachelor’s degree.
“There are companies that do research in security, because there are always other people trying to break security,” she says. “I’d like to go to one of those companies and be part of that research.”