April 18, 2024
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Computer science graduate wants to be a role model for women in STEM

Beatrice Arana ’23 is inspired to help others thanks to her time at Watson College

Beatrice Arana ’23 is getting her bachelor's in computer science this May, but she will return in the fall as part of Watson College's 4+1 master's program. Beatrice Arana ’23 is getting her bachelor's in computer science this May, but she will return in the fall as part of Watson College's 4+1 master's program.
Beatrice Arana ’23 is getting her bachelor's in computer science this May, but she will return in the fall as part of Watson College's 4+1 master's program. Image Credit: Jonathan Cohen.

Going to college, Beatrice Arana ’23 knew she wanted to pursue a career in STEM. Determined to try something new, she set her sights on computer science.

“Women are a minority in my field,” she said. “I wanted to challenge myself.”

As a first-year student from Queens, N.Y., in 2019, Arana was inspired by the other women in her department: “All of my peers, professors and course assistants were so passionate about what they were studying. It really pushed me to be where I am now.”

Now, she has earned a degree in computer science at the Thomas J. Watson College of Engineering and Applied Science as one of the Computer Science Department’s top students.

“I’m so thankful for all of the opportunities that have opened up for me since I decided to pursue this major,” she said.

After graduation, Arana will continue graduate school through Binghamton University’s 4+1 program: “I’m excited for graduate school. I’ve been taking a lot of senior electives that suit my specific interests, and I can’t wait to continue my research at a more advanced level.”

Part of what makes Arana so special is her devotion to helping others. For many, a university is a place to learn. For Arana, it’s a place to learn through educating.

“I want to be a role model for other women in computer science,” she said.

As a supplemental instruction leader, Arana holds informal class meetings to help other students better understand difficult material: “In the process of furthering my own education, I’d like to be someone who helps others further theirs as well.”

Doubling as a peer advisor, Arana feels it’s important that her peers know she is there for them.

“Giving back is so important, and not enough people feel comfortable seeking help,” she said. “It’s nice knowing that I can be a friendly face.”

As the director of marketing for the Women in Tech student group, Arana wants to build a community of ambitious women entering computer science.

“I want to create a supportive network for any woman who has any interest in technology,” she said. “There needs to be a larger focus on professional development for young women in STEM research.”

Distinguished Service Professor and Computer Science Department Chair Weiyi Meng has faith that Arana has a bright future ahead of her: “She’s an exceptional student and leader.”

Although Arana is not yet sure where her future career will take her, she knows that she belongs in computer science.

“I was able to make my dream a reality at Watson, and I’m lucky to be continuing that dream after graduation,” she said.