CS373 Fall 2020: Caitlin O’Callaghan

Hi everyone! Welcome to my first blog post of the semester for CS373.

I’m Caitlin and I’m from Bedford, Texas, a small suburb right in the middle of Dallas and Fort Worth. I loved growing up between two cities with such distinct atmospheres and getting to explore the two! I attended L.D. Bell High School, and my favorite extracurricular activity was playing the oboe in the Fort Worth Youth Orchestra. Fun fact: I actually went on a tour to Austria and the Czech Republic with that orchestra and met my boyfriend of almost 3 years now!

In my last months of high school I was quite torn between going on to major in oboe performance at TCU or majoring in CS at UT, two very different options. Music is my passion, but I am still very interested in CS. I decided to come to UT because I knew the CS program here would provide me many opportunities for a future career, and choosing CS also meant more job security than being a musician. This turned out to be the case as I have been able to participate in research, orgs, and internships. I also love the flexibility CS provides in applying it to your own interests. I participated in research aiming to use NLP to reduce gender bias and the gender content gap in Wikipedia biographies, and I loved it!

I decided to take this class because of the great reviews from past students, as well as its very relevant applications to the industry. I think I will come out of this class more equipped for future internships and jobs. I enjoyed the first two lectures, and the cold calling definitely kept me on toes! I do think Downing cold calls in a way that isn’t intimidating and that is quite engaging, which I appreciated.

This week, getting back in touch with UT friends (albeit remotely) made me happy! I’m so grateful to feel like I still have my community even though I’m studying from DFW. I’m looking forward to the rest of this semester and I hope I can meet more classmates virtually! :)

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