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    Hello my name is Anissa Norman, I am a freshman at Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, NC. My major is computer science with a scientific concentration. I am a member of the Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Education and Research Program (CERSER), led by Dr. Linda B. Hayden, Principle Investigator.  CERSER is a program that provides computer science majors hands-on opportunities in the form of internships.

My earliest experience in the (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) STEM field was when I participated in the North Carolina Math Science and Engineering Network (NC-MSEN) Saturday Academy and Summer Scholars Pre-College Program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC-Charlotte). In the Summer Scholars program, a select group of students were picked to be in a category titled Geographical Information Systems (GIS).  Professor Laurie Garo, who is a lecturer and researcher in the Department of Geography and Earth Science at UNC-Charlotte led, the GIS program. Our topic for that year was Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). Basically, we went around the UNC Charlotte campus and measured the distance of emergency blue lights, lampposts, trees and their height, and shrubbery to figure out how crimes can be prevented. We also worked with ArcMap 10 within a program called ArcGIS that helped with mapping out the crime scene locations that we visited on campus.

We presented all this information at an event titled GIS Day, which took place in Charlotte, NC on November 18, 2012.  There we learned even more about how ArcGIS was used to collect information, such as weather.

During the summer of 2013, I attended a camp at Microsoft Headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was an all-girls, three-day computer camp titled Digi-Girlz.  At the camp, we learned about coding and how to build applications using emulators. We also had the opportunity to build a countdown timer app for the Windows Store. This program was designed to get young girls such as myself to become more involved in the technology field.  This is where I found an interest for coding and working with software programs.

The following summer of 2014, I attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio for a Summer Scholars Program and I was in a module titled “Adventures in Computing: Coding and Programming.” In our group we worked with an online program titled Progressive. We used that program to create animations. We also got to work with Arduino Circuit boards to make light operational and other small creative projects. This is where I developed a passion for coding and working with programs to make things happen on the computer.

During my senior year of high school I took dual-enrollment classes through Rowan Cabarrus Community College in Salisbury, North Carolina. These classes were Web Design and Internet Fundamentals, Web Markup and Scripting, and an Introduction to Multimedia. I have plans to finish taking my necessary classes so that I can obtain my certification in Web Design Technologies.

Now that I attend Elizabeth City State University, I plan to receive my Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science and to pursue a career at a large computer company. I also plan to go back to my hometown and hopefully start classes teaching people of all ages about computer basics and start a program that gets girls involved with technology such as the program that I participated in during the summer of my sophomore year of high school.

For the Spring semester of my freshman year here at Elizabeth City State University I attended my first symposium titled ADMI (Association of Computer/Information Sciences and Engineering Departments at Minority Institutions). I was told by my colleagues that this symposium is a great start for me as a freshman. I had a great experience I met many people who told possibly help me in future endeavors such as choosing graduate school. I learned about many different programs and internships that were interesting to me. The one program that I liked the most was the Cisco Networking Academy Program. This program allows one to improve their IT skills and building careers.