Student Spotlight: From California to Colorado and loving it

This post originally appeared on the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering website.

Hi! My name is Emily and I’m a sophomore studying Computer Engineering with a minor in Computer Science. I am originally from Sacramento, CA and as much as I love it back home, Colorado State University has given me an unforgettable experience so far. When I first visited CSU as a sophomore in high school, I fell in love. As I continued to explore other colleges, CSU became the clear choice. I love electronics and being able to configure them in different ways to then be able to program them to do different things, which is why I chose to study Computer Engineering. I also love to hike, ski, and explore the outdoors, so luckily for me Colorado has enough places to keep me busy.

Why I chose CSU

When I was looking at colleges, I knew I did not want to stay in California. I wanted my college experience to be different from what I had known growing up and for me that meant going out-of-state.

I played competitive soccer in high school and I was fortunate enough to come out to Colorado for nationals. While I was here, my family and I visited CSU and I fell in love. The moment I stepped on campus, I felt comfortable. I felt at home. I was able to visit a few more times before I had to make my decision about what college I would be attending and I fell in love more each time I came back.

Computer Engineering: my perfect fit

The Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) program here was exactly what I was looking for. You’re in a lab from the first semester working hands-on and applying what you’ve learned in the classroom to actual circuits.

I also enjoyed the idea of doing a sophomore project and a senior design project. I’m currently doing my sophomore design project and love being able to apply what I’ve learned as a student to a real world project.

Out-of-state challenges I’ve overcome

Coming to Colorado has been a huge change for me, but not once have I regretted my decision to come out to CSU.

Living on my own with parents an hour drive plus a two-hour flight away was my first challenge. I knew one person at CSU, so I was a little nervous to meet new people and make new friends. Luckily for me, CSU felt like my second home after the first week living in the dorms. Sure, I got homesick, but I met some of my best friends my first semester here and I had them to fill in for my family back in California.

The weather definitely got to me the first winter I spent here. I would ski back home in Tahoe, but I never lived in the snow.

I made sure to come prepared when I moved out here; I had all the right clothing, shoes, etc., but it was still colder than anything I had ever experienced. After the first few days of snow, I grew to love it (besides brushing off my car the morning after).

My favorite college experiences so far

My first semester sophomore year I was taking a class called Intro to Microprocessors. One of our labs was to use a microprocessor connected to an LED screen and we had to make the screen display our CSU Ram logo. Many hours were spent hooking up ports and writing code for it, but once the project was done, I felt accomplished. It was awesome being able to see that logo finally pop up on the screen and to know that I did that.

I joined Greek Life my first semester at CSU and it has been one of the best decisions I have made in college. I’ve met some awesome women and one of my favorite things that we do is philanthropy. My chapter, Chi Omega, works with the Make-A-Wish foundation and my spring semester freshman year we had our Wings for Wishes philanthropy event. Our wish child and his family were able to attend the event and when we had the wing-eating contest, the little boy’s face just lit up. Seeing him smile and just how happy he was in that moment made me realize how important my chapter was to me.

My favorite experience in Colorado was skiing in Vail this past winter break. It was my first time skiing in Colorado, and, what a difference! I got to spend three days with my best friends in one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to so far in Colorado. There are a ton of places to explore in Colorado and I can’t wait to see what I’ll get to do next.

There’s so much more to look forward to

CSU has this list of 70 things to do before you graduate. Some of them I have already completed, but I am looking forward to finishing out the list within the next two years. A few of the things I have yet to do that are on the top of my list are hike to the ‘A’, take a picture with CAM the Ram, and explore our Mountain Campus.

I’m also looking forward to meeting more people. Each year I have met some amazing people who I know will be in my life hopefully til the end, so I look forward to making more of those friendships.

Colorado is still new to me; I am still learning about all of the beautiful places it has to offer and I am excited to adventure to them during my time here. One of my goals is to go to most, if not all, of the ski parks during my time here.  I have a goal for this summer to hike at least three 14’ers and maybe even more. Both CSU and Colorado have so much to offer and I can’t wait to be able to explore them more.

Emily Strack

Emily is a grad of the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering with a degree in Computer Engineering and a minor in Computer Science. She is an Engineering Student Ambassador and former member of the CSU Chi Omega Sorority.

Jill Baylis

Jill was a staff member in the Office of Admissions until 2019 when she moved to Denver. As a first-generation college student, she focused on simplifying the college admissions process and helping future Rams find community on campus.