From algorithms to data architecture,
computers stoke grad’s creativity
By Billi London-Gray
Seema Kulkarni recently experienced the thrill of developing a successful search-engine algorithm. As a soon-to-be graduate from Texas State University’s computer science master’s program, learning to devise such solutions is the key to finding satisfaction in her work.
But Kulkarni states it another way: “I do what I love.”
Just a graduation ceremony shy of receiving her master of science degree, Kulkarni already has a job lined up as a software developer for a company in Austin. For her, it’s another satisfying step in her quest to study computers, a journey that has taken her from her home in India to Central Texas.
“I always wanted to do something in computers,” she says. Even as a kid, Kulkarni was fascinated by them. When it came time to pursue her university education, she attended Cummins College of Engineering in Pune, Maharashtra, India, earning a bachelor of engineering degree in computer science.
Her decision to attend Texas State was influenced by a number of factors, but chief among them was a personal connection to the university. Her then-fiancé, Aniket Kulkarni, had just completed his MS in computer science at Texas State and had secured a job in the Austin area. He returned to India, they got married, and Kulkarni packed her bags to move with him to the United States and start graduate school.
“Texas State stood out [from other schools I was considering] because many students get assistantships and opportunities to work and learn here. There were jobs at the university available in the field I wanted to work in,” she says.
After she enrolled, Kulkarni became the graduate research assistant in charge of maintaining computer technology for the Office of University Marketing at Texas State, adding to her professional experience. Coupled with the inquiry-based model of her degree program, she says her experience at Texas State has opened her eyes.
“In my undergraduate program, classes were very rigid,” she says. “When I came here, there was total freedom. The freedom given in most classes has allowed me to get a lot better. You get to explore your own creativity, and it comes out better than you expected.”
She says the number of graduate programs and the amenities of the campus itself, including Alkek Library and the San Marcos River, also surprised her. Walking through the open doors of her new environment, she excelled academically, receiving the Graduate College Scholarship, the Academic Excellence Award for the Computer Science Department, and an invitation to join Alpha Chi, an honor society for students from all disciplines.
Kulkarni recommends getting involved with an honor society. She was inducted into Alpha Chi in October, gaining advantages such as recognition of her membership on final transcripts, and opportunities for public service, conferences, networking and scholarships.
But the advice she really encourages all students to follow is the same directive that has led her happily down her path: “Have fun — just enjoy what you’re doing. If you do that, you don’t have to worry about the results.”