Computer Science, Human Interactions, and Art: A Perfect Combination for Auburn's Andrea Leggett

Published: Mar 10, 2008 1:00:00 AM
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Source: EL Alliance Newsletter

Andrea Leggett, a second semester Ph.D. candidate at Auburn University, has a clear picture of her research and career interests: human computer interactions. After completing her bachelor's degree from Albany State University in Albany, Georgia and master's degree from Norfolk State, Virginia, both in computer science, she has chosen to focus on an area that combines her early talents in art with her interests in computer science.

"I've always been able to pick up on the concepts and programming in computer science, since I became interested through a summer high school program focused on university courses in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics," said Andrea. "I loved the programming, and knew that computer science would be my major in college. I'd like to take advantage of the resources in computer science and apply them to areas of human interactions, which is a field of great interest to me, and tremendous future potential."

Just after starting her Ph.D. program at Auburn University in the fall of 2007, Andrea's major advisor, Professor Juan Gilbert, suggested she apply for a scholarship to attend the Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing in October 2007 in Orlando, FL, which was supported by the EL Alliance. She was accepted, and found the conference of value to her career, saying "I remember calling my mother (a professor) about one of the panelists—Dr. Valerie Taylor, the Chair of Computer Science at Texas A&M University—who really hit on the options people have in their careers, and the university environment, including some honest remarks about the need for training for teaching at the college level. I appreciated her honesty, and felt connected to what she had to say."

Having always considered a career as a teacher, Andrea is still planning a life in academia. But after her Ph.D.—expected in 2011--she is open to all options, as long as they involve a human connection to technology.