When Gabriella Suarez’ thoughts of majoring in piano performance seemed too impractical, she started considering engineering. Even though the Allentown resident was always good in math and science, however, she initially thought the discipline would be too hard.
Apparently not. After placing on the dean’s list her entire four years, this spring—after receiving her BS degree in computer engineering—she begins a job as a software engineer and technical analyst for JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Wilmington, Delaware.
The home-schooled Suarez never did any computer programming before she came to Temple. However, after doing some coding in the introduction to engineering course, and then taking computer programming in C during her second semester, she was hooked.
“The first few weeks I felt confused,” she recalls of the latter course, “but once it clicked I thought, ‘This is something I have a lot of intuition for. And when you see a program you wrote actually running, you have a lot of gratification.” That experience led Suarez to a two-year stint as a lab assistant for the College of Science and Technology’s computer programming in C course. She conducted the labs, taught some of the material and also tutored some students. “The more I taught it the better informed I myself became,” she reports.
As part of the Undergraduate Research Program, the outgoing president of Temple’s Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers student chapter also worked for two years with Joseph Picone, professor in electrical and computer engineering, on a big data analytics research project designed to detect seizure evidence in patients’ EEG signals. “That was another landmark experience that completely changed how I viewed computer engineering,” she says.
Suarez was offered her full-time job with JP Morgan Chase after spending last summer as a technical analyst intern in one of the firm’s New York City offices.
“I’ve learned and grown a lot as a computer engineer during my time at Temple,” says Suarez. “I’ve also become more resilient, and I’ve definitely improved my critical thinking and problem-solving skills--skills that I will use for the rest of my life.”