Smitha Nagar

I’ve always been fascinated by the human mind – how we think and make decisions – and this, combined with my passion for logic and problem solving, is how I plan to develop technology that helps shape people’s mindsets and promotes empathy. Ever since I discovered my love for computer science, I’ve been spending time exploring its many opportunities. My love for learning and adventure carries over to how I interact with my major, and I’ve been fortunate to participate in Girls Who Code to develop a web app, the U.S. Naval Academy to learn about cybersecurity (and do intense physical training), at UCSF to optimize a brain visualization in virtual reality, Oculus’ first Launch Pad for 100 selected VR developers, and now, UT’s amazing and challenging Turing Scholars program. This summer, I interned at Google, where I got a taste of how large tech companies utilize data to help people connect, work, and live better lives. I’m excited to be a part of this growing field and to work on projects of my own to positively impact society.

Along with computer science, I enjoy participating in education outreach. As Director of Logistics and Operations for Code Orange, a student organization that addresses the digital divide in Austin with mentorship and programming education, I mentor and teach kids in East Austin coding principles with Scratch. I stay in touch with my musical side by playing the tower bells as a member of the Guild of Carillonneurs, and I keep up with the video game scene in Austin as a corporate officer for EGaDS, the Electronic Game Developers Society. I am also a corporate organizer for HackTX where I connect with sponsors for UT’s annual hackathon.

Major: Computer Science

Honors Program: Turing Scholars

Other Academic Interests: Virtual reality, Augmented reality, Psychology, Entrepreneurship

Extracurricular Activities:
Director of Logistics and Operations – Code Orange
Corporate Organizer – Freetail Hackers
Corporate Officer – EGaDS
Member – Guild of Carillonneurs
Engineering Practicum Intern – Google (Local Ads team, Summer 2017)

What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program (FASP)?
Every interaction I had with the program’s staff, during emails, phone calls, and interviews, made me realize how much they care for the scholars and actively try to provide the resources scholars need to succeed. I was excited to be a part of the incredible community this program provides, and I discovered during finalist week that the amazing, supportive peers in the program made me want to push myself to do my best. Additionally, I was drawn to the diversity of interests of people in the program, because I wanted to be exposed to multiple viewpoints and perspectives to better develop myself as a person.