BackTalk: Ida Behreini C’19

Twice-honored state STEM scholar and human half of “Ida and Evie.”

I thought I would be an English major. But Professor Steve Kass encouraged me to explore different avenues, so I took a computer science class my first year and I really liked it.

And I really love Professor Emily Hill. She’s been a huge inspiration to me. She’s always willing to help, passionate about computer science and very human oriented. By this I mean that she always encourages us to have a healthy work-life balance.

We’re basically solving puzzles. There’s a lot more creativity in computer science than one might think.

I’m totally night blind, and even during the day I can’t see what’s on the board. But I can see my computer screen if it’s really enlarged. That’s one reason why the relationship with my professors is of the utmost importance.

Her name is Evie. She’s a 5-year-old black lab. She likes to eat, and she loves being on campus, going to class and sleeping. She loves getting attention. They put “Ida and Evie” on my dorm room door.

My first year we went to South Korea on a shortTREC. It was advertised as a robotics and physics trip, but we also went to the border, the DMZ, and we toured the capital.

What’s really good about Drew: Because it’s so small, you have professors sending out information about opportunities they find. Professor Hill sent out the initial email that got me interested in the Governor’s STEM Scholars Program.

As a Governor’s STEM Scholar, you’re paired with five or six high school students, and you mentor them on a research project throughout the year. It’s good leadership experience. At the end of the year, we had a competition and presented our research projects to a panel of judges. My team actually won.

It’s really amazing how far I’ve come in four years. Drew has really helped me achieve that in terms of building confidence, interpersonal skills, job experience— all different experiences socially, academically and professionally.

I interned for JP Morgan this summer, and I received a full-time offer, which I accepted. I’ll be doing software development, building systems and applications, meeting with clients and seeing what their needs are. But I don’t want to rule out graduate school, especially since I’ve had such great professors here at Drew.

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