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Amoni Hawkins

Amoni Hawkins

Amoni Hawkins

Computer Science / Suitland, MD

What made you decide to enroll at the University of Maryland?
I decided to enroll at the University of Maryland because it embodied everything that I wanted in a college. It was close to home (only 30 minutes away), had amazing engineering and computer science programs, had a close-knit minority community despite it being a PWI and it had incredible state pride. The location of the University of Maryland was also a plus as it is close to DC and Route 1 is exciting in itself.

What major/career path do you plan on pursuing and how did you select that path?
I plan on pursuing the computer science major and more specifically following the data science track. Coming into the University of Maryland as an undecided engineering major, I was persuaded to switch to computer engineering during a summer bridge program hosted by the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program.

After two years in this major, I realized that the electrical engineering aspect did not spark my interest nor was it something that brought me joy. In my opinion, it took time away from my focus on my computer science courses which I enjoyed. I made the decision to switch at the end of my sophomore year, and I am so excited to be a computer science major now!

Activities I do outside of class or community service/volunteer activities I'm involved with:
Outside of class, I am currently a resident assistant at the Denton Community Residence Halls. Although this position can be quite demanding, it is rewarding in the sense that I get to cultivate a welcoming community for others and that I positively influence their experience on campus. It also allows me to meet numerous individuals of many backgrounds and cultures. I am also a member of Code:Black UMD which is a club devoted to promoting and developing a community of minorities in tech. It helps to eliminate my impostor syndrome and connect with others who share similar identities as myself in a white male-dominated field. Now that I am back on campus, I plan to join other extracurricular activities (possibly intramural volleyball) and community service activities.

Which programs are you enrolled in, and what have you gained from your experience in them thus far?
During my freshman year, I was enrolled in College Park Scholars and I was a part of the Science and Global Change Program. In that first year, I was pretty much handed a close-knit community the first day I stepped on campus and I had a good time learning about climate and the weather. I will never forget Scholars Community Service Day where I was waist-high in a lily pond at the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens scooping out roots and other gunk. I even went to Brownie Beach where I spent the day searching for shark tooth fossils. I ultimately decided to withdraw in order to more closely focus on my demanding courses, but I am very grateful for the friends I have made and the interesting knowledge I have gained.

Aside from academics, what else do you hope to take away from your time at Maryland?
I hope to take away some lifelong friends from Maryland. I reside more on the introvert side and it is harder for me to venture out and make new connections. I hope that by the end I will have established a group for myself that serves as a support system in all aspects. I hope to take away unforgettable memories. Whether it was a super intense basketball game that we won on the buzzer beater or a group project that placed really high, I want to be able to look back and cherish each and every moment of my college experience. There is nothing that I would change about the decisions I have made as they shaped the woman I continue to grow into each day. I want to leave Maryland knowing exactly what I want in life and also knowing exactly how to achieve it.

What are your future goals after graduation?
My future goals for after graduation is to go to graduate school. I am not sure what school or what I plan to master in but I do know that I want to continue my studies. I would also like to travel a lot! There are so many places in the world that I want to explore and currently the farthest place I have been is either California or Panama. I would love to immerse myself in other worldly cultures and cuisines so that I am not so sheltered to the United States.

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