Participating in CSMore could not have been a more rewarding and enlightening climax to my freshman year! I came into Cornell intending to major in electrical and computer engineering. I was convinced I would declare as an electrical and computer engineering major come my sophomore year until I took the Intro to Python course, CS1110, in my first Fall semester. It was my first foray at a programming course as a novice without an inkling of what a variable or conditional statement was. Rigorous as the course was, it kindled my interest in computer science as an area that aligned with my faculty to explore solutions creatively and consider trade-offs.

While I loved the simultaneous thrill and challenge that programming presented, I felt conflicted between declaring as a computer science and electrical and computer engineering major. I continued to debate over this in the Spring semester when I stumbled on an advertisement for CSMore. How could I not apply? It screamed CS! But what is CSMore? CSMore is a program targeted at broadening the participation of underrepresented minorities in Computer Science. I was ecstatic when the day of the program swung by soon enough the following summer.

It was a month-long program that offered me a chance to study, self-reflect and network in a relaxed, collaborative environment with other rising sophomores. I appreciated how our intimate cohort was intentionally fostered through social events. I couldn’t have been more grateful for the opportunity to delight in generous scoops of Cornell Dairy’s signature ice-cream flavors during the ice-cream socials. I also have fond recollections of our rock-climbing social. While I cannot speak to being adventurous or daring, I savored in pushing myself to climb higher and take on increasingly challenging walls. In hindsight, I am surprised at how enthusiastic I was about the multiple ascents I made that day but then again, I suppose I felt reasonably safe to push myself far and out of my comfort zone given that I was suspended from a rope. Equally memorable was our virtual escape room event, bowling social and especially the formal welcome event which offered a chance to network with professors in the computer science department and battle with my peers in board games. While there was room for fun and games, the exposure to the material and content of upper-level courses, specifically in computer systems organization, discrete structures, and functional programming was incredibly insightful. I found the challenge of building and simulating digital circuits such as digital clocks and traffic lights using the finite state machine design pattern stimulating.

In hindsight, I am surprised at how empowering the broad scope of events and activities were given the short space of 4 weeks, and I if I could do it over again, I would without a second thought! Ultimately, CSMore sustained my interest in computer science, incentivizing me to pursue a computer science minor to concentrate in machine learning and database systems to apply and intersect that knowledge with my interest in power and energy systems, and communications networks in the field of electrical and computer engineering!

-Afua, electrical and computer engineering