What makes Washington State University’s Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture stand out from the crowd for those looking to get a degree?

We ask computer science major Marisa Mendoza for her thoughts on what makes WSU such a special place.

Marisa Mendoza.

Name: Marisa Mendoza

Expected Date of Graduation: May 2024

Major: Computer Science

High School: Cheney High School

Scholarships: Washington State Opportunity Scholar

Q: Why would you recommend attending Washington State University?

A: The community, hands down!

At WSU there is truly an indescribable sense of community, and I see it everywhere. In academics, there are so many different people and organizations ready to help students get the most out of their college experience.

In sports/extracurriculars, there’s always something going on around campus and it’s always a great time getting to meet other students and celebrate Cougar victories!

I see it off-campus too! Every time I’ve traveled somewhere- if anyone I’m with is wearing coug gear, we always get a “Go Cougs!” shout out.

Q: What can you recommend they do to succeed in your major or at WSU?

A: Computer science is hard. One of the biggest things that has helped me get through these times is seeking out community, whether it be friends in my classes, talking with a professor or mentor that you look up to, or just finding a space for you to de-stress and separate from all the schoolwork. I think just knowing that you’re not going through it alone helps a lot.

Q: Are you involved with any activities on campus?

A: I’m involved in the Team Mentoring Program (TMP). I started as a mentee when I was a sophomore, and then became a mentor in my junior year.

This has been a great opportunity for me to grow my network and my soft skills. Getting to mentor students in my major has helped me reflect on what I’ve learned and get to guide students. Being involved in TMP I also get to work with other mentors and together we plan events, collaborate on how to best help our mentees, and get to know one another on a different level.

TMP provides us with a community of students in STEM majors where we can relate to one another and help each other. TMP also has many faculty that are ready to help both student mentees and mentors.

Q: Have you participated in any internships related to your field of study?

A: I’ve participated in two internships so far.

My first internship was with Avista in the summer after my sophomore year. This was a great experience to learn about an industry I knew very little of and get my first look at what a job with my degree could be like. I worked on their Data Delivery team and got to shadow several team members and work on some great projects. I wound up learning a new coding language and used some new software that summer.

My second internship was the summer after my junior year at Selkirk Pharma. I was excited to learn about yet another industry that I did not know much about! This company is a startup, so interning here I got to see what goes into starting a manufacturing facility. I interned on the IT team and got to work with several different departments and learned about operational technology, corporate IT, and ladder logic code. Both of these internships were a great experience to learn about what kind of job opportunities I might have in my future, and that there are many different industries that I could work in.

Q: What do you want to do with your degree after you graduate?

A: I plan to get a job in software engineering or data science. Both areas are of high interest to me.