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     My name is Anissa Norman, I am a sophomore at Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, NC. My major is computer science with a scientific concentration. I chose computer science as a major because it interests me, it is always changing, and I am always curious to know how things work.  

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). I was selected to be part of a team that focused on Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Under the GIS umbrella, our team’s research topic was “Crime Prevention through Environmental Design” (CPTED). We explored the UNC-Charlotte campus and measured the distance of emergency blue lights, lampposts, and the height of trees and shrubbery to determine how crimes can be prevented on campus. We also worked with software programs such as ArcGIS and ArcMap 10 to map out locations on campus as well. 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.

The following summer of 2014, I attended Miami University located in Oxford, Ohio for the Summer Scholars Program. I was part of a module titled “Adventures in Computing: Coding and Programming.” In our group we created a mini videogame using sprites, worked with Arduino circuit boards to make operational lights and other small creative projects. We also worked with a program titled Progressive to create animations. This is where I developed my passion for programming and working with computer software.

In the fall of 2015, I was accepted into the Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Education and Research program (CERSER) at Elizabeth City State University. I was very pleased to receive this award because I knew that it would help me succeed by providing me with opportunities to grow in programming and software through various training sessions. CERSER also provides great opportunities to apply for internships.

In the spring of 2016, I did my first research project titled “Implementation of Social Media for Dissemination of Research Activities at the Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Education and Research at Elizabeth City State University. My mentor was Jeff Wood. The goal of this project was to figure out how various forms of social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter could be used to promote CERSER.

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.

Currently, as a sophomore, I have obtained a good foundation of C++ and I am learning Java and Python. I plan to expand my knowledge of these languages and gain more experience by applying for internships.