Friday, June 5, 2015
On Monday, June 1, Cassandra Ung graduated magna cum laude with her 2015 WAIS class at Don Coleman Coliseum. Next month, she heads to Boston for a prized appointment to the Google Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI), which will be held July 12-August 1.
CSSI is a three-week introduction to the field of computer science for students historically underrepresented in the heavily male dominated field. The institute isn’t your average summer camp either. Here is what Google states about it: “It’s an intensive, interactive, hands-on and fun program that seeks to inspire the tech leaders and innovators of tomorrow by supporting the study of computer science, software engineering and other closely related subjects.”
Cassandra’s travel and board is fully paid to Cambridge, Mass., the location of top schools like Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Google students attend learning sessions that include several computer languages, as well as programming fundamentals. Students may even design or develop their own applications.
No previous computer language or computer coding skills are required, but for Cassandra her winning Google application fits like a glove into her college and career plans.
An International Baccalaureate student at WAIS, she will study this fall at the University of Texas at Austin where she hopes to major in either electrical or computer engineering, or both. She is also interested in film animation and in software applications that support film and video.
One of her WAIS instructors, Math Department chair and campus technology representative Anthony Carandong spotted the Google summer internship. He encouraged her to apply.
“I was completely shocked when I received the email [notification],” Cassandra says. “It came right after I had received some rejections from universities, and I was feeling down so that really changed my day!”
She credits the IB program at WAIS and the district charter high school’s small size and close student-teacher interaction with her own success as a top student.
Her interests include volunteer work in schools in Cambodia, where her parents grew up. She has traveled to the Southeast Asian nation and volunteered at Don Bosco High School in Phnom Penh, the capital city.
She helped several students there remain in school rather than dropping out and working to support their families. “Two or three girls that I knew when I was in Cambodia graduate this summer. I’m so proud of them,” Cassandra says.