The School of Engineering is #PNWEngineeringProud of Sara Wenzel. She is a Computer Science student who will graduate in December 2022 with her bachelor’s degree.
September 13, 2022
Name: Sara Wenzel (she/her)
Hometown: Munster, IN
High School: Munster High School, Class of 2019; graduated with academic honors
PNW Degree: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, with minors in Psychology and Applied Mathematics, Dec. 2022. I completed my curriculum in 3.5 years.
Why did you choose your field of study?
Ever since I was young, I have always loved computers and video games. However, women having interests in these fields was so far and few between, and it still is now. I decided to leave it as a small hobby, as it was something not “normal” for a girl to like. I thought I was going to major in nursing until I took a web design class in my senior year of high school. I thought it was so interesting how I was able to make a website with what looked like some random letters here and there. Luckily, it was just in time for college applications, so I applied to PNW and have loved it since.
I came into college with barely any knowledge on what computer science truly was and have thrived. I have also learned that no one is “weird” for having different interests. I wish I could tell my younger self that!
Why did you choose PNW?
I chose to attend PNW because it was local to my home. I didn’t want to go away for school because I love my family and pets! I also wanted to graduate debt free, which I’m so happy to say I will be! I couldn’t have done it without my wonderful parents.
What has been your most rewarding academic experience at PNW?
My most rewarding academic experience has been getting Honor Roll and Dean’s List every semester that I’ve been a student here. I’ve had numerous semesters where I finish with all A’s, and the feeling never gets better.
Any specific classroom projects/learning experiences that have been beneficial?
My software engineering class project was very beneficial to me because it focused more on the business side of computer science. This was quite a change considering the majority of our curriculum is coding or logic.
Summer 2022 internship: Deloitte, Chicago
I heard about Deloitte from a friend who interned there the summer before, and it seemed like a wonderful company. I decided to apply to a few of their intern positions and I was selected to intern in their Risk and Financial advisory department in the Cyber and Strategic Risk practice out of the Chicago office! I had no idea what to expect, but they made the summer so enjoyable. The project I worked on for the majority of the summer was a risk-based cost analysis for remediating cyber security controls on operational technology devices for a nationwide power and utilities client. It was such an amazing experience, and I was valued like a real employee with real client work. On the last day of my internship, I got the amazing news that they were extending me a full-time offer and I will begin working out of the Chicago office in January 2023 as a Cyber Risk Analyst!
On the last day of my internship [at Deloitte], I got the amazing news that they were extending me a full-time offer!
I was the treasurer for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) section here at PNW. We hosted a lot of outreach events as well as professional development nights. A few of us were able to attend the national conference in Indianapolis, IN last year, which ended up being so fun and had so many wonderful info sessions. I was also an officer for the PNW Computer Science Club where we focused on building projects that everyone could participate in.
Faculty and/or staff members who have helped you along your journey at PNW
Professor Shuhui (Grace) Yang has been so helpful when it comes to answering any questions I may have. She is now the department head, so I, unfortunately, didn’t get to take any of her classes during my last semester!
Awards received at PNW
I received the PNW academic achievement scholarship. I have also achieved Honor Roll and Dean’s List every semester.
What are your plans after graduation?
I accepted my offer to begin working as a Cyber Risk Analyst for Deloitte, so I will begin that in January 2023! I am also looking forward to planning a vacation to a few countries in Europe.
Final thoughts about your PNW education
I hope more women can start having an interest in STEM fields. Because of PNW’s size and the lack of women in STEM fields, women make up 4.4% of my computer science classes. That’s me and one other girl out of 45 people! I hope PNW can continue to build their computer science program and bring more women into it!
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