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Alexis Urias


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Arizona State University-Tempe

Bachelor's degree program
2022 - 2024
  • Majors:
    • Computational Science


  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Computer Software

    • Dream career goals:

      focusIT’s Women in IT Scholarship
      STEM is a field where logic combines with creativity and results in prosperity. Great thinkers are found there, some of the greatest minds known pursued fields in STEM and contributed much to them. As a woman, I believe having a career in STEM would be an honor and something to be tremendously proud of. It is a privilege to get to study and major in a STEM-related field. Many women today across the world do not get such a privilege, and even more so, a proper education. As a young girl and even now as an adult, my whole life has been influenced by computers and technology. I can remember playing video games on the Playstation 2 and the Nintendo Gameboy (I was very fond of the Super Mario Bros and Spyro games). My first cellular device was a Blackberry phone. I remember texting people on the small keyboard and it felt like the niftiest thing. As the years went on by, I can remember coding and hackers being referenced in pop culture a lot; it was such a fascinating concept the way they presented it in movies and the media. In a way, that is what sparked my interest in a STEM-related career path. For me, it all began with the infamous “Hello World” script in HTML. I was lucky enough to have a teacher in middle school who introduced us students to web design. It all kind of took off from there. Oddy enough, I had never heard of computer science until after I graduated from high school (maybe it was because I grew up in a small town in rural North Dakota). A simple Google search about careers in technology thankfully saved me; it led me to pursue a degree in computer science with an emphasis in software engineering. I would not have made it this far into my major if I did not believe in the opportunities a STEM career can provide for me and the impact I could have in the STEM world. Software engineering is one field in particular that I have an extensive passion for. One thing that draws me to software engineering is the leadership that comes with the role. I enjoy guiding people through projects and being the person that people can come to for help; I respect how this is the standard in most STEM careers. After I graduate, I would like to get a job as a software engineer working at a company that is oriented towards artificial intelligence or cybersecurity. One rewarding thing about technology is the options available to those pursuing a certain sector in it. There are always new niches of technology being created. I cannot wait to be able to apply all the knowledge that I have learned over the years, but more importantly, I get to learn and keep learning about these fields that we have yet to truly scratch the surface of. Ultimately, for me, a career in STEM would mean that I have accomplished something no one else has done before in my family (as a first generation student and future scientist). It would mean that I am one among a small percentage of women to join in on the excitement that comes with a career in STEM. It would mean that I get to build connections and rapport with people who have the same goals and dreams that I do, and I think that is very special indeed.
      McDuffie Software Engineering Scholarship
      When I was a little girl, I had a great interest in computers. I wanted to know how they worked. Maybe it was back in the early 2000s before I started using the command line to open internet explorer (I thought I was a wizard), I watched The Matrix and saw the 1’s and 0’s and thought “I want to be a hacker when I grow up.” Hello, my name is Alexis Urias and I am currently a junior at Arizona State University. I am majoring in computer science with an emphasis in software engineering. One of my goals is to graduate by December 2024 with my bachelor’s degree. In 2018, I graduated from high school in North Dakota, and I had never heard of computer science. I had every intention of majoring in biology and becoming a doctor. I had my heart set on attending the University of Arizona but I could not afford the hefty out-of-state tuition. I ended up taking a year off to work and then signed up for classes at Chandler-Gilbert community college in 2019. At that time, I did not want to major in biology anymore so I momentarily switched to finance, but I always had a thought in my head concerning technology, and then I finally found out about computer science. I came upon it through an internet search. I wanted to know what jobs were in the technology industry and how people became qualified for those jobs. This is how I stumbled upon the software engineering career path. Software engineering is so enticing because it allows for a lot of analytical, logical, and creative thinking. It can also be very challenging and requires a sort of mental prowess to find a solution to a problem (almost like winning a game). The amount of approaches one can take to form a solution are endless and there is always something that can be improved and made better. Another aspect I enjoy immensely is the leadership involved in this role. Software engineers can lead a team of developers through a project and guide the way. My hope after graduation is to get a software engineering job in the artificial intelligence or cybersecurity sector. It is so hard to decide because there are so many great options to choose from. Artificial intelligence is something I find fascinating both technically and ethically. Cybersecurity is another one that is of great interest because it involves protecting people and their data, and that is very important to me. Postgrad, I will be encouraging women to pursue a degree and career in STEM. Alas, I have worked full-time these past two years to support myself financially while attending school full-time as well. At this point in my degree, I am taking crucial courses for my major and I need to find more time for my education. With this scholarship, I can work less and focus on my courses more. I do not want to do poorly in my courses simply because I had to work to afford living expenses. I am a young woman, a first-generation college student, and I want the opportunity to continue my education without worry.