Samantha Park





Computer Science
Class of 2020

Hometown: Cypress, California

Research/Work Experience: N/A

Other campus activities:
Engineering Freshman Council (EIB Chair)
Illinois Leadership Certificate
ASL Club

Why did you join EA? I joined EA because I knew it would be a unique opportunity for me to grow as a leader, especially in communication. I recognize that there is always room for improvement, so I'd like to take advantage of every chance I get to learn how to better myself. I also wanted to be a tool for the College of Engineering to help enlarge and draw attention to the engineering programs by talking to people about my experiences so far and what the College of Engineering has to offer to its students.

What’s your favorite part of being an engineering student? There are so many opportunities for engineering students at Illinois. Illinois makes sure we have everything we could possibly need to succeed. There is also an engineering community on campus that includes all engineering majors. I think this is a very valuable aspect of being an engineering student because it teaches me that in the real world, all engineers have to work together and share knowledge with each other to accomplish something great. I love the fact that as an engineering student, I get to see and experience types of engineering outside my major.

What made you come to the University of Illinois? I knew Illinois had one of the top computer science programs in the nation. Knowing that college is ultimately an investment in my future, I wanted to attend a school that could offer many opportunities in my field. Physically visiting Illinois also ensured me that this was the school for me. There is a sense of community on campus that is hard to find in most other schools.

What has been your best experience at Illinois? The best experience I've had so far was during my first week here in Illinois. I was at the Union bus stop when I saw a woman asking another student for guidance with the buses. The student wasn't too sure himself, so I approached her and suggested she use Google maps. She was so pleased that I offered her my help that she started talking to me about her profession, through which she got to work with James Cameron, Oprah, and other well known professionals in her field. I talked to her about my interest in the film industry and got valuable advice from her. She talked to me for an hour at the same bus stop and gave me her email, offering me an internship for my junior/senior year that she said she usually only offered to graduate students. School hadn't even started yet, and I was presented with such an amazing opportunity.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a STEM degree? Work hard for what you want. Pursing a STEM degree can get very competitive, but it is worthwhile. Find out what you love and stick to it, all STEM degrees will require hard work, but it is all enjoyable when you are passionate about what you study. Your experience is what you make of it, so take all the opportunities you can to increase your knowledge in any area, whether it pertains to your specific major or not.

What do you plan on doing after graduation? After graduation, I hope to either be working for the government in California, D.C., New York, or abroad, or for Pixar or Universal Studios as an animator or film editor.