From the first day Garima Maheshwari learned to code in Java, she was interested in “everything software” and turning it into a career that makes an impact. “Innovation is big for me,” she said.
Majoring in Computer Science & Software Engineering in the School of STEM at the University of Washington Bothell was one of the best decisions she ever made, said Maheshwari, who also is working on a minor in Mathematics. She’s on track to graduate in March 2021.
Maheshwari was recognized this last academic year as one of the Husky 100, students from across all three UW campuses honored for making the most of their UW education. She sees it as a way to give back to the community.
“My main goal out of my Husky experience is to be able to have the tools to help the community and the world empower themselves with technology,” she said.
Opportunities for experiences
A Running Start student from Sammamish, Washington, Maheshwari started at the UW on the Seattle campus where she connected with the student organization Engineers Without Borders. She helped design and build a solar-powered phone charging station, which serves as a prototype for devices that could be useful in places such as a tent city.
She was accepted into the CSSE major and started in autumn 2019 at UW Bothell, where several professors have been influential, Maheshwari said.
Marina Moraiti, a mathematics lecturer, “really invested in my learning. She made everything so clear.” Yusuf Pisan, an associate teaching professor, introduced her to GitHub, the software development platform. Pisan and Arkady Retik, an associate teaching professor, have had a powerful impact on her computer science education, Maheshwari said.
The Tech & Engineering Fair hosted on campus last fall by the Office of Career Services was a networking opportunity that connected Maheshwari to a health care company with a summer internship. Additional help landing the job came through the UW Bothell chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery. The ACM student club sponsored mock interviews and “cracking the coding interview” practices that set up Maheshwari for success.
“It was almost a piece of cake because I had all of these things ready to go for me,” she said. “I had a lot of support.”
Tough times make you stronger
Like the spring quarter courses, the internship became a remote undertaking because of COVID-19.
“Not used to learning in an online environment,” Maheshwari said, the suddenness of the coronavirus scared her at first, but professors were accommodating.
“I ended up getting the same, if not more experience, out of these classes I took online. Even though it was a difficult situation for all of us, we made the most out of it,” she said.
“Being part of a school willing to do whatever it takes to get learning through has been an amazing journey. Even though it doesn’t seem great right now, it’s something we will get through,” Maheshwari. “We’ll look back and say we’re this much stronger because of this.”
The pandemic itself also made her internship in health care more meaningful, Maheshwari said. “Being a software developer and developing technology during this time is super important.”
Each year, the University of Washington selects 100 students who are making the most of their Husky experience. Thirteen UW Bothell students were recognized as part of the Husky 100 Class of 2020. What's special about a Husky 100 recipient? They dare to do. They use what they learn inside and outside the classroom to grow personally and to create change in their communities.