Spotlight on CS undergraduate Stevie Sellers

Stevie Sellers is not exactly sure why she enjoys computer science so much, but she does know that things just feel right when she is coding. “I remember when I was a little kid watching movies,” says Sellers. “One kid would say ‘I want to be a rock star’ or ‘I’m going to be an astronaut’ or even ‘I’m going to be a princess.’ I looked at the person who was typing all these complex algorithms and thought ‘that’s what I want to do’.”

As a child, Sellers used every opportunity she could to work with computers, such as the typing class her mother enrolled her in when she was about eight years old.  Before taking any coding courses as a teen, Sellers taught herself basic HTML through online tutorials.  She only took two major computer-related courses in high school, both in Web design, but she excelled in both. These positive experiences helped her to decide to pursue an undergraduate degree in computer science, and she plans to minor in mathematics because of her love for math.

Sellers is currently a member of the Commonwealth College, the honors college at UMass Amherst, and expects to graduate in 2010, likely with honors.  During her first year, she was a member of the Talent Advancement Program (TAP). TAP students live together with other students in the computer science program and attend several common courses. As a result of her great experience in TAP, she became a TAP ambassador in 2007 to speak with incoming students who were looking into joining the TAP.  “When I first entered college, I was really scared,” says Sellers. “But then I made many friends because of the TAP program so I am no longer scared and really enjoy college.” 

When she is not immersed in her studies, Sellers has a number of activities that she enjoys.  She has played the flute since the sixth grade and has also started playing the piccolo.  In the summer she plays for her hometown summer band.  In addition to music, she also likes creative writing, hanging out with her friends, and going to sports events on campus. She is especially interested in going to hockey games because of the fast-paced and ever-changing environment of the game.

Sellers is hoping to get an internship this summer to give her some hands-on experience in her chosen career path. One option would be to work at EMC Corporation which is headquartered in her hometown of Hopkinton, MA.    

As a woman in computer science, Sellers has often been asked if it is discouraging to be in a field where there are so few females. “Just the opposite,” replies Sellers. “Just because very few females work in computer science, why should I not do what I love? It is fun going against the curve, and it is a challenge that I am willing to take head on.”