CSSI Three-Day Takeover! Day Two: Catching Up With CSSI’ers

Today, we’re catching up with a few of our CSSI students from this past summer. We’ve asked the students to share highlights from their time at CSSI and how the program impacted them for their future academic and professional careers.


Haven is a first year student at University of Arkansas where she’s majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics.

Why did you apply to CSSI?

To be honest, I’d never taken a class in computer science and I didn’t have internet at home, so my only experience is in what I picked up troubleshooting tech problems for teachers and watching videos on Khan Academy. My goal for the summer was to gain some hands on experience with software.

What shocked you the most about the program?

I was surprised that there were so many people like me, I stick out with my family and friends and it was nice to belong. It was nice to develop a community that you can talk to about work, personal life, and share your thoughts because I don’t run into people like that in my day to day. Meeting people that were like me encouraged me to pursue CS.

What’s the most important lesson you learned?

I’m one of six kids, the middle child, single mom, poor family, so I felt like I blended in and didn’t think I was going to go far. I wanted to do amazing things, but I thought it’s not really going to happen. Getting into Google gave me the confidence that I can go far.

Now, Haven is pursuing a double major in Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Arkansas. Great job, Haven!


Jay is a first year student at the University of Alabama where he’s majoring in Computer Science. Below, he shares his thoughts about his three weeks in Cambridge at the CSSI.

How did you become interested in Computer Science and CSSI?

In middle school, I developed a love for technology and was the go-to person at my school who assisted teachers with IT. This combined with my passion for giving back to my community led me to Computer Science. I wanted to pursue a subject where I’m able to build technology that will impact underserved populations and help others.
What was the most important lesson you learned at CSSI?

That it’s best to work in teams. During the project week, I was paired with two other CSSI classmates and together we built a web app. We leaned on each others’ talents to make it possible. Now at school, I meet weekly with my CS classmates preparing for technical interviews and we help each other with internship applications. It’s really helpful because not as many people are as social as I am, but it’s something we can all relate and can feed off of each other's’ energy. They’re shooting technical questions at me and telling me what to improve on and I can tell them how to talk to people.

What were you most shocked by?

The amount of talent that I was surrounded by… the instruction and the accelerated students who all had ideas about how they wanted to change the world. I was the only student at my High School who was interested in Computer Science, so being able to come to a place where there are 29 other students who are just like you, interested in the same stuff and they’re thinking about how they can use it to change the world was really meaningful to me.

Thank you for sharing your CSSI memories with us, Haven and Jay!

Click here to apply today!