Hey, my name is Bryan Medina and I’m currently a Junior here at UCF, studying Computer Science and Mathematics. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida and I graduated from Hialeah Gardens High School in 2016.
Throughout my studies, there have been a number of classes that have reassured me that I have picked the right career to pursue. One of those classes being “Computer Science II” taught by Dr. Sean Szumlanski. In that class, we learned numerous algorithms and techniques that are being used in this day and age throughout multiple arenas: finding the best path to get from Orlando to Miami, how to find the best possible moves that’ll guide a chess player towards a winning game, and obtaining the best possible sudoku solution in under one second are some of the topics we explored. Aside from course content, Dr. Szumlanski was able to instill a deep interest in all who attended his lecture. His way of presenting information and captivating the classroom assured me that a field in computer science was a must for me.
But what field of computer science interests me exactly? Throughout my childhood, I developed a deep appreciation for music and a fascination for the brain. For me, music is an emotional outlet that’s capable of conveying complex feelings with or without the need of words. Listening to a certain song at a certain time can cause me to remember exact moments in my life or alter my mood entirely. More generally, how do we understand all the sound that face day to day, whether it be a conversation with a friend, or an alarm that goes, or birds chirping? What are some of the complicated processes that help us on a day to day basis that go on in our brain? Fortunately, the field of Computational Neuroscience can answer these questions that I pose!
At first, I didn’t think that I was capable of pursuing a career in Computational Neuroscience. Throughout high school, I never imagined that a career in a STEM field was possible because I was lead to believe that it wasn’t; counselors were not helpful and there were no opportunities that introduced me to such possibilities. When I got to UCF, I discovered that it was possible to answer my questions with computer science, but I wished that I would have been exposed to the field earlier on. I decided to become a STEM Ambassador in order to help members of the community find their passion. A large part of my journey was made alone, but it does not have to be that way; I aim to give everyone an opportunity to have their interests grow and lead them towards a career that they love and are passionate about.
If I could provide one piece of advice to anyone, it’d be to never give up on something that you love! If you truly love something, if you are truly passionate about something, why let it go? Not giving up and persevering will not only help you grow as a person and student, but it’ll help you become the better person that you aim to be. As beautifully said by Jack Conte, CEO of Patreon, “ …[M]ost people … don’t even know that they were months away…, or [even] three years away and they give up. [They’ll] just never know what could have been… and I can’t do that to myself.” Don’t be like most people; push through! You won’t regret it.
Other things I love to do are cooking with my friends, listening to and sharing music with anybody, and riding bike!