Student Spotlight: Damaris Zola C’21

Damaris Zola  C’21                                    

What attracted you to Drew?

When I was applying to universities I really liked the community that Drew created and was really impressed by how friendly everyone was. I also enjoyed how I could meet some of the professors in each department so I was able to feel valued as a student.

Why did you choose Computer Science, Business and Spanish as majors?

Before I came to Drew I knew I wanted to study computer science and business. Adding a Spanish major was not originally part of my plan but through conversations with my professors and advisors, I am very glad that I committed myself to that undertaking. The Spanish department has been really supportive and has given me the opportunity to connect with individuals of different cultures which has added more value to my life.

I chose computer science because of the creative problem solving aspect and how there is a wide variety of computer science related careers. My interest in business was motivated by my interest in finance and I thought it would complement a major in computer science.

Have you done any internships?

Over the summer of 2020 I participated in the Drew Summer Science Institute (DSSI) where Professor Emily Hill and I conducted research on automatically discovering word similarity in computer code. The experience was really rewarding and I was able to learn more about natural language processing techniques using Perl and Unix commands. I would definitely recommend other students to look into participating in research if they are given the opportunity as it taught me a lot about how to investigate a research problem and conduct data extraction and analysis.

What role does lacrosse play in your life?

During my freshman through junior year I played Varsity Women’s Lacrosse. The sport allowed me to be a part of a team and serve as an outlet for stress in my life. My favorite memory was traveling to Hilton Head, South Carolina as a team during spring break.

Currently, I am the head lacrosse coach for a Madison Girls Lacrosse Team. Through this position I hope to give my players a basic understanding of the technique and rules of the sports and create a love for the game as it has positively impacted my life.

Do you have any mentors at Drew?

I have so many people to thank for helping and encouraging me throughout my college experience. Spanish Professor Dr. Monica Cantero-Exojo has been greatly influential throughout my Spanish courses and as the director of the Barcelona shortTREC program. Spanish Professor Dr. Raul Rosales has provided excellent guidance as an advisor and has been a constant motivator. In the computer science department Professor Dr. Emily Hill has been an amazing support and has taught me both technical skills within computer programming as well as how to be resilient and confident in my work. Lastly, Anthony Cena C’ 99, has shared valuable career guidance and advice that has given me the confidence to begin the job search process and start my career.

Have you studied abroad? Done any short, long, or nycTREC?

During the summer of 2019, I participated in the Spanish Language and Culture in Barcelona shortTREC. Throughout the course of the program I learned in depth about Spanish history and culture and was able to hone in on my language speaking skills. Through visits to historical sights and traveling through the city, I gained a greater cultural appreciation and understanding of the region.

Park Guell, Barcelona, Spain

What issue in the world means the most to you?

Women’s rights are very important to me especially allowing all women equal access to opportunities in education.

What are a few of your favorite memories of Drew?

One of my favorite memories at Drew was meeting my roommate freshman year and discovering how much we had in common.

What advice would you give students who are just starting out that you wish you had when you started?

I recommend that every student should keep an open mind to all opportunities and take advantage of the resources that the university has to offer.

What are your career goals? Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

My career goal is to work in data analysis within the healthcare industry. I hope to continue my studies and earn an MBA and to work towards a masters in data analytics.

Are there any fun fact (s) you would like to share?

One of my favorite activities is to go fishing in the summer with my family in Lake George, NY.

Barcelona, Spain

Platja d’Empueries, Barcelona, Spain


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