CS student Mariam Shalash Excels Within and Outside of her Department

Student Name: 
Mariam Shalash
Graduation Year: 
2012
Area of Interest: 
Web services; peer tutoring; campus involvement

Mariam ShalashMariam Shalash is a recent Computer Science graduate.  Her involvement on campus during her four years here, however, reached far beyond one department.

First, Mariam obtained a minor in Mathematics.  “I knew that I loved math,” she says, “but I didn’t want to be a math major, so I started looking at the College of Engineering.”  By choosing Computer Science as a major, Mariam knew she’d have the chance not only to take many math classes—enough to earn a minor—but also to apply them through the use of logic and technology.

Mariam was able to use her math education to tutor minority students in Calculus and other math classes, which she did for two years.  She also spent her freshman year tutoring middle school students in math at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning.  As a proponent of peer-to-peer education, Mariam recommends CS students make friends within the major so that they can offer help (or accept it) when necessary.

Mariam worked for three years as a lab technician with the department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at UK, showing that she values a breadth of knowledge across disciplines, not just within her major.  This philosophy is also apparent in her plans for the future: “I’d like to move around in the field for a while to figure out what kind of roles I really like.”  She is not content just to find one strength of hers and stick solely with it.

On campus, Mariam spends much of her free time doing random volunteer work and at the Muslim Student Association, where she is an active member.  These extra-curriculars did not distract Shalash from her studies, though.  She received the Oliver H Raymond Scholarship in her senior year—she was already a recipient of the Provost Shcolarship—as a reflection of her high academic performance, and she graduated with a 4.0 GPA.

Off campus, Mariam had an internship with Belcan in downtown Lexington and another with Capital One in Richmond, Virginia.  These experiences helped her gain the qualifications she needed to land her current job, at which she’ll be working with web services at a DC-area company.

To those considering majoring in computer science, Mariam says, “you can and should go for it!”  She didn’t have any experience with programming before she took CS 115, but she kept up with her classmates and believes anyone else can, too.  Mariam admits that there were times when she doubted her choice of major and considered changing it, but she stuck it out, and she recommends others do the same: “It’s worth it…. Embrace the challenge rather than trying to run away from it.”  She also recommends that CS-majors get involved with something else, a passion, to keep them well-rounded.  Mariam certainly followed her own advice, and the University of Kentucky expects great things from this distinguished CS graduate!