Cynthia Aguillon

Cynthia Aguillon

Name: Cynthia Aguillon
Age: 20
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Edinburg 

I chose to attend UTRGV because of the community and the faculty. Being a part of a community that feels like home has had a positive effect on me. From taking (many) coffee breaks to programming well into the night, I couldn’t imagine not being surrounded by the amazing friends that I have made here. Furthermore, the faculty that I have met have been above and beyond wonderful. They have challenged me, taught me valuable skills, and have been supportive and encouraging. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the community and faculty at UTRGV. 

What made you decide on your current major?
Growing up, I never really had the chance to get involved with STEM until the end of my eighth grade year. My middle school counselor called me in one day and recommended that I join TexPrep, a STEM program for students at UTPA (now UTRGV). I applied and got accepted. It was awesome – it exposed me to a whole new world that I quickly came to love. My favorite TexPrep class was computer science. While there, I learned that I liked challenges and solving problems. I loved being able to bring my ideas to reality even though it was challenging at times. Since then, I have taken every opportunity possible to further my education in computer science. 

What are your plans after graduation?
I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science. I hope to make a significant impact with the research I will do in the future. 

What are you involved in on and off campus?
Currently, I am mainly involved in the research I am doing in human robot interaction with Dr. Megan Strait in the Department of Computer Science. Last summer I interned with Facebook in Menlo Park, California, where I worked on mobile development. This year, I interned through the Research Experience for Undergraduates at the University of South Carolina in Columbia where I worked on applied computational robotics. This September, I will attend the Richard Tapia Conference in Atlanta, which highlights diversity in computing. I also received a scholarship to attend the Grace Hopper Conference in October in Orlando, Florida. This conference celebrates women in computing. Off campus, I take piano classes and plan to upload the songs I learn on YouTube. 

What is your biggest accomplishment to date?
My biggest accomplishment has been giving back to my community by mentoring students throughout my high school and college career. My mentors have been the people who have made the biggest impacts on me as I have grown up. From my parents to closest friends, I am so grateful to have been guided and supported by them. As a mentor, I can help students with their aspirations and make a significant impact just as I have been impacted by my mentors. 

What advice do you have for future students?
One of my favorite quotes from Grace Hopper is “The most dangerous phrase in the language is, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’” Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself, come up with different ideas/solutions, or try something different.