As a member of Kean University’s Class of 2012, Rosangela Arlequin ’12 of Dunellen, N.J., has reason to celebrate. Newly equipped with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Arlequin has also been named a Google Scholar by the Hispanic College Fund (HCF) for the 2012-2013 academic year. According to her award letter, Arlequin was “selected as someone who personified HCF’s commitment to education, leadership and community service.”
Kean Xchange recently sat down with Arlequin to learn more about the prestigious award, how she came to study computer science and her post-graduation plans.
What are you feeling about your Google Scholar award?
I feel satisfaction, happiness and gratitude that people saw my efforts and that they are helping me to continue with my goals in life. I think that everything is possible no matter where you come from, your religion, race, etc. we just need to have courage, value studying and be a good person.
What motivated you to apply?
Well, a bunch of students from the computer science department applied for this Google Scholarship last year but none of us received it. So this year, when I was applying for graduate schools, I remembered this scholarship. I decided to apply again.
Also, as a scholar of the McNair program, they help us to find funds to continue with Master’s or Ph.D.’s programs.
What are the details of the scholarship?
The scholarship award – it’s for $10, 000 – came with an invitation to an all-expenses-paid Google Scholars' Retreat in June to the Googleplex in Mountain View, CA. The retreat will include workshops, speakers, breakout sessions and social activities scheduled over a 3-day period. I will have the opportunity to explore the Googleplex, meet “Googlers” and connect with other Google scholars from around the country and Canada. I have to maintain scholarship program eligibility for the entire 2011-2012 academic year to keep the award and I can also apply again to see if HCF will continue to sponsor my graduate education.
What led you to study computer science?
I always have been fascinated with the functionality of the computer. I am attracted to all the new ideas and advancements of technology, which is used basically in all type of business and all areas of our society. I also like math.
Computer science (CS) is about problem solving; finding the way to do things better and using logic to solve problems. I like that CS is very challenging in that there are many ways to find solutions to a problem but the most important is to choose the best solution possible.
Was there a particular person who influenced you?
Definitely. My parents motivated me to study. I remember my father (may he rest in peace) telling me that the future depends on education; without education you will not go far as you would like to go. Also, something that my mother told me and I always have present is that ‘the effort that you make today with your studies will be your satisfaction and happiness of your future.’ Also, I grew up in a nun’s school where they taught me values and explained to me the importance of getting an education. Those lessons are always in my mind.
What is your research agenda?
Well, so far I’ve done research and developed an Android application called “The analysis of the real-time performance of an Android application.” This research was under the direction of Dr. Patricia Morreale, a professor of the computer science department. This research helped me to be one of only three students from Kean selected to attend and present at the 2011 Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) poster competition in Anaheim, CA. My experience at the SHPE conference increased my excitement for hands-on research, learning and commitment to complete responsibilities on my own and find solutions to problems.
I also did a project on “collective intelligence” as part of my senior research under the direction of Dr. Morreale. This research area is something that I am very interested in continuing. I am very fascinated by the techniques and methods for collecting user data, performing calculations on the data and generating new information in order to enhance the user experience. There is tons of information that is just sitting there waiting to be analyzed. I would like to contribute to determining how to classify the information and associate it with users.
You’ve graduated. Now what?
I’m very excited to have graduated! I will continue in the fall with my graduate studies and eventually will pursue my Ph. D. Ultimately, I’d like to work in a financial company, perhaps in the City.
What are your summer plans?
During this summer, I am looking forward to go to the Google Scholars' Retreat! Also, I have some offers to work as a software testing engineer, so I’ll likely start working this summer. I will also go back to my home city of Arequipa, Peru, where I am originally from.
Tell us about your "Kean experience."
My Kean experience started in fall 2008. In my second year, I was awarded with the National Science Foundation (NSF) scholarship for computer science. I also became member of Kean’s ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) club.
In my third year, I became an LSAMP (Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in science and engineering) scholar and then consequently won its scholarship, too. In the LSAMP program, I had the opportunity to be a mentor to a freshman student. Also in this year, I was selected as a McNair scholar. In this program, I had the opportunity to do my first research project. This experience increased my enthusiasm for hands-on research, learning and commitment to complete responsibilities on my own and find solutions to problems. I also got involved in community service projects through the McNair program.
As for the academic experience, I can say that I learned so much valuable information from all of the experiences I had, the classes I took, from my professors, friends and classmates. My professors guided me through the years that I have been at Kean and gave me advice when I needed it. I am very grateful to all of them for their time, their patience and for teaching me all that I know and contributing to the woman that I am today.
What lessons did you learned at Kean that you think will serve you well into your future?
I definitely have some lessons that really touched my heart. In my software assurance class with Dr. Liou, he said that all the knowledge that he knows he will share with us; it just depends on us if we take it or not. He hoped that one day we could do the same for others. And Dr. Liou told us the importance of working as a team, being honest with one self and others, helping and being kind. I learned similar things from Dr. Morreale. She is very helpful and is always there for the students and cares about their progress.
I certainly can say something about each of my professors, but I will just say that I am taking with me all the teachings, advice and knowledge that they provided me because I am sure that it will help me in my professional and personal life.
What is your advice for other students?
Have courage, value yourself and help others to do the same.
We are very proud to have a Kean University alumna named an HCF Google Scholar. Congratulations, Rosangela! We wish you continued success in your academic, professional and personal goals. Leave a comment below for Rosangela.