Meet the 2022 Participants
Meet the undergraduate students (and their mentors) who are enhancing their skillsets and creating positive change in their communities as part of the Advanced Computing for Social Change Institute's 2022 program.
Meet the Participants
Mateo Alexander is taking what he calls "an entrepreneurial gap year" but plans to return to the Rochester Institute of Technology. Mateo's major is Applied Arts and Sciences focusing on four key areas: city science, future foresight, public policy and science, and technology and society. For fun, he likes to invest, play soccer, read, work out, travel, and explore urban areas.
Da'Nika Anderson-Gary is a full-time research analyst at Hyundai Capital America. When she's not working with contracts, you can find her in the gym, challenging herself to push further than she did the day before. She wants to use her wisdom and knowledge to help young people believe in themselves. She's also a newlywed and a first-time mom to a beautiful baby girl.
Teanna Barrett is interested in social computing, computing ethics, and social activism, and hopes to make these topics the basis of her research at Howard University, where she is a Computer Science major and Philosophy minor. Teanna is also the incoming president of the Howard chapter of Society of Women Engineers. In her free time, she enjoys baking, crocheting, having picnics, and listening to live music.
Arnold Bhebhe sees role models in people who care about others and support the growth of our society. He is a rising junior at Alabama State University, where he is studying Computer Science and Biomedical Engineering. To unwind, he enjoys playing soccer and roller skating when he is not watching anime.
Clara Blackwell is a sophomore at Indiana University majoring in Arts Management and minoring in Spanish and Information Systems. She enjoys drawing, reading, and writing fictional works. She admires Malala Yousafzai and S.E. Hinton because of their hard work and the amazing achievements they were able to accomplish as young adults.
Jordan Brown considered becoming a lawyer. Even though her family thought she would excel in the field, Jordan realized it wasn't a good fit. She pivoted into studying Engineering and Chemistry at Clark Atlanta University. She is a section leader with the Mighty Marching Panthers at CAU. Jordan owns a business (https://eyewonderbeautyllc.com) where she sells bonnets, durags, satin pillowcases, lashes, and sunglasses.
Kamani Bryan works at a smoothie shop during the week and at a girls' basketball tournament on the weekends. Her role models are her mother, grandmother, and two special aunts, Helene and Denise. Kamani's grandmother grew up in the South during a time of racial segregation but didn't let that stop her from receiving an education.
Rodrigo Carrasquillo was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in Spain. Rodrigo, who returned to Puerto Rico to study Mathematics at the University of Puerto Rico, believes anyone willing to live for a cause they believe in is worthy of being considered a role model. Outside of the classroom, he enjoys spending time at the beach with his friends.
Kevin Chen started to learn about information technology in fifth grade. A self-starter who is the first person in his family to go to college, Kevin is currently a junior at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, majoring in Computer Science-Cybersecurity and minoring in Entrepreneurship. He also likes to read fictional novels and spend time outdoors.
Nayda Diaz attends the Rochester Institute of Technology and majors in Criminal Justice with an immersion in Communication. Her role models are her parents, whose hard work provided opportunities for Nayda and inspired her to work even harder, follow her passions, and stand up for what she believes in. For fun, she likes to travel and listen to music.
Aisha Frampton-Clerk was born and raised in London in a small, tight-knit family. She lives in New York with her husband, and has been an intern at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She had a great time during her internship but realized architecture may not be the best fit. She changed her major from Architecture to Computer Science and attends Queensborough Community College.
Carla Golubev originally wanted to be a writer but decided in high school to choose to study mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Carla also works part-time at Walgreens and part-time as a financial aid office assistant. In her spare time, she loves to stay active by attending workout classes or playing volleyball.
Charlie Hambley works as a criminalist and forensic scientist with the Guam Police Department. He graduated from the University of Guam with a degree in Biology. His role models are two of his professors, Dr. Frank Camacho and Dr. Wei Xiao. When he was growing up, Charlie wanted to be the person in his favorite cartoons who makes all the cool devices and gadgets.
Kennyde Henry is a Computer Science major at Howard Community College. If she's not at work or studying, you can find her busy with her one of her favorite activities: working as a nail technician. When she was younger, she wanted to be a basketball player, so when you meet her, ask her if she wants to talk hoops.
Wayne Howard Jr. wants to work in the tech field and help push human innovation beyond its limits. Currently, he trades stock options and NFT's. For fun, he likes to search for NFT's to flip for crypto profit. He also charts up the support and resistance lines for stocks for the following days he's trading. In his down time, he likes to build gaming computers and keyboards.
Gabe Hubbard is studying Agricultural Engineering and Technology at Fort Valley State University. When he's not in school or working on his family's farm, you can find him hunting, mud riding, playing with his dog, and spending time with his family. Gabe's role models are his mother and grandfather, because they set an example of hard work, dedication, and love.
AJ James-Owolabi a native Nigerian, is a Computer Science major at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. He counts one of his professors, Dr. Suzan Anwar, as a role model because she has a way of breaking down complex concepts and making them easier to understand. His favorite hobbies are playing soccer, playing video games, and watching movies.
Kherstin Johnson is a Computer Science major with a concentration in Cybersecurity at Alabama A&M University. She's also a cheerleader for the third year in a row. Outside of cheering, she enjoys shopping, traveling, and trying new foods. One day, she wants to start a local Boys & Girls Club branch to help younger kids who don't have much support and guidance at home to achieve their goals.
Christine Jones has a dual interest in management information systems (MIS) with an immersion in American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf Cultural Studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She is an avid reader — a fun fact about Christine is that she's an identical twin.
Gaby Lahera is a junior at Mount Holyoke College, where she is studying Economics and French. She chose to major in Economics because it combines math with social issues — two things near to her heart. In her free time, she likes hiking, crocheting, and dancing.
Santosh Lamichhane is an international student studying Computer Engineering and Computer Science and Mathematics at Bethune-Cookman University. In his free time, Santosh likes to watch YouTube videos about the origin of the universe, hang out with his friends, and listen to music. His parents have always been his inspiration because of their unlimited support and tireless efforts to provide a better life for him.
Sophia Lazcano is studying Statistics at Texas A&M University with concentrations in Computer Science and Mathematics. She is working toward earning her degree and advancing her skills toward her goal of pursuing a career in Data Science. Outside of her studies, Sophia enjoys drawing, watching movies, listening to music, or playing the flute.
Victor Lopez is a first-generation American and college student whose family immigrated from Guatemala. Currently, Victor is finishing his third year at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he is majoring in Biomedical Science and minoring in Psychology. He's also interested in reselling sneakers and premium clothing.
Ivan Martinez is a former Biology major at Medgar Evers College who is changing his major to Computer Science because he feels it is a better career fit for him. Originally, he didn't think becoming a CS major was possible, but after seeing Tiktok videos of other people changing their majors to Computer Science, he realized it wasn't impossible. He's an excellent juggler and thinks it's a neat trick to show new people.
Julia Nguyen developed an interest in web development and computing, which led to her decision to major in Computer Science at the University of Florida. For fun, Julia loves consuming Japanese media, from novels to music to YouTube videos, putting her minor in Japanese to good use.
Omar Ocasio is working toward his Computer Engineering degree at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Bayamon Campus. He is also very into music — orchestral music, instrumental music, progressive rock, and progressive metal. He's part of a progressive metal band trying to make a splash on the local music scene, so be on the lookout for the "Souvenirs."
Lola Ofunrein serves the City of Austin by working at the Department of State Health Services. Her team, the EMS Licensing group, processes licenses for emergency medical service workers. Lola enjoys watching Nigerian dramas and family movies with her kids, who love her home-cooked Nigerian meals. Her favorite dish to cook is jollof rice with fried plantain, fish, and stew.
Kingsley Okparaugo wants to be a successful computer scientist. Kingsley is a Computer Science major at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. While he respects people like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg because of their successes, he views them as competition and wants to be even more successful. When he's not working, he spends his downtime playing video games.
Adriana Bonilla Romacho has always had her head in the stars. When she was growing up, she wanted to be an astronaut or a scientist. When she's not working on her astronomy research at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus, the Computer Science and Engineering major leads a project where she and her team are working to build a Jet Propulsion Laboratory Rover.
Anu Soneye is a Computer Engineering major at Howard University. Her role models are her college advisor and her mother, two women in the electrical engineering field. One day, Anu hopes to emulate her advisor and have her own lab. She loves to try new things like skateboarding or playing the piano.
Cindy Tran chose to major in Cognitive Science at Lehigh University because it is interdisciplinary and incorporates fields that she's interested in (psychology, philosophy, computer science, and neuroscience). She's also minoring in Chinese to get in touch with her Asian heritage and retain her language skills. Her parents are her biggest role models because of their persistence and work ethic.
Usiel Ulloa is busy working full-time as an ambassador at the University of Southern California while also studying Mechanical Engineering at California State University, Los Angeles. To take his mind off his workload, Usiel likes to watch YouTube videos or play games on his PlayStation 4 or PC. He also has a twin brother enrolled at Cal State.
Judy Wang is double majoring in Quantitative Biology and Communication on a pre-law track at the University of Southern California. In her down time, she likes to go on walks with "Rosie," her Pembroke Welsh Corgi. For a class project, Judy interviewed John Kiriakou, a former CIA agent turned whistleblower.
Meet the Mentors
Gladys Chen is graduating from Oral Roberts University with a Mathematics degree. She also has a minor in Youth and Family Ministries. She considers some of her college professors as role models because they taught her the value of using vocational skills to give back to local communities. A Singapore native, Gladys has visited 20 U.S. states and 14 countries, so it's no surprise that she loves traveling and exploring new places.
Kat Gonzalez is enrolled at Chaminade University majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Data Science. She also works as an undergraduate researcher for the Honolulu County Human Trafficking Task Force. Kat's mother taught her to work hard and never give up, which is why her mother is her biggest role model. Kat's hobbies include hiking, painting, reading, and going on picnics.
Marco Gonzalez wants to become a successful software engineer and work for a company that creates meaningful products that impact communities in a positive way. To accomplish this goal, Marco is majoring in Computer Science at California State University, Los Angeles. Partly due to his experience with ACSC, he will be joining Johnson & Johnson as a software engineering and data analytics intern.
Taylor Ishisaka is wrapping up her final year of undergraduate study at Chaminade University, where she majors in Data Science. In the fall, she plans to attend graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in their Biomedical Data Science program. Taylor has always wanted to become a doctor. When she was in high school, she was fascinated with the heart and how heart disease is among the leading causes of death in the United States.
Frank G. Lujan II graduated from the University of Guam in Mangilao with a degree in Biology. He now works with the Center for Island Sustainability as a Post-Baccalaureate Fellow with the SEAS Islands Alliance. Inspired by a 2021 trip to Florida where he was able to swim with manatees, Frank wants to attend graduate school and learn more about marine mammals.
Breana Moreno is a successful desktop administrator with McCoy's Building Supply in San Marcos, Texas. She graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Computer Information Systems. She plans to pursue a master's degree in Data Science. In her down time, she enjoys playing team trivia at a local bar with a group of friends — together, they have won several prizes.
Alii Napoleon is a full-time student at Chaminade University of Honolulu majoring in Data Science. His father passed away, but Alii says his father is his greatest role model and friend. From a professional standpoint, Alii looks up to Dr. Rylan Chong and Dr. Travis Mukina of Chaminade University, and Dr. Kelly Gaither of The University of Texas at Austin. Alii is a classically trained chef who likes to spend his downtime at the ocean, gardening, doing yoga, and coaching youth sports.
Stacyann Nelson completed her PhD in Experimental Particle Physics at Florida A & M University— she is now a physics lecturer at Howard University. A native Jamaican, she likes to browse the Internet and learn new ways to teach life lessons to her daughter. She counts her mother as her role model, as she saw her mom overcome struggles and challenges and never give up.
Je'aime Powell works at the Texas Advanced Computing Center at UT Austin. He wears many hats — senior system administrator, technical research design analyst, curriculum development specialist, lecturer, and hackathon coordinator. He's also working toward his PhD in Information Systems at Dakota State University. For fun, he enjoys aquaponic, hydroponic, and container gardening, hiking, camping, fishing, and cycling.