Prereqs, Programming, and Petroleum

Monday, February 2, 2015

Emily Cahill almost didn’t major in computer science.

Cahill, CS 2015, wasn’t interested initially because she considered it to be a “male-dominated field.” But, she was still required to enroll in an introductory computer science course as a Georgia Tech freshman. That course quickly changed her mind. Now, Cahill is inspiring other females to make the leap into computer science.  

Cahill has shared the computer science gospel through her work with the Institute for Computing Education. The institute is a partnership between the College of Computing and the Georgia Department of Education, aimed at increasing the number and diversity of computer science students in the state. Cahill led multiple workshops that teach about programming and robotics.

“Emily is an asset,” says Barbara Ericson, Director of Computing Outreach for the Institute for Computing Education. “She is very upbeat and has a can-do attitude.”

Recently, Cahill transitioned into a new role as a project leader with Sisters Rise Up 4 CS, a research project of the Expanding Computing Education Pathways Alliance. Sisters Rise Up is aimed at helping more women pass the Advanced Placement Computer Science Examination through biweekly webinars, in-person tutoring and undergraduate mentoring.

“I love what I do because I can inspire young girls to pursue computing by showing them they can be successful,” Cahill said. “Establishing an interest in computer science at a young age breaks down the barrier for women in computer science.”

That’s only the beginning of Cahill’s campus activities. She's active in the Office of Outreach, Enrollment and Community’s Mentors Program and is a teaching assistant for a freshman seminar course. Cahill also completed the college’s study abroad program in Barcelona during Summer 2014.

Away from the classroom, Cahill is active in the Georgia Tech Equestrian Club. A longtime horse rider, Cahill has ascended to the club’s Presidency. The team travels to weekend horse shows across the Southeast and routinely holds social activities. She’s also a member of Alpha Xi Delta Sorority.

Her myriad of activities have paid professional dividends. Cahill has interned with Phillips 66 at the company’s Oklahoma headquarters. During her internship, Cahill created a web application that allowed researchers to easily store and access information on crude oil samples. Cahill was able to tour a crude oil refinery prior to developing the app. At the conclusion of her internship, Cahill had the opportunity to present her app to the company’s CIO and IT Leadership Team. Her experiences at Phillips 66 made her passionate about application development.

“Whether I was learning a new language, debugging my code, adding to a project, or discussing requirements with a business analyst, I enjoyed every minute of my job,” Cahill said. “Because of my role, I am no longer nervous about finding a career that I love.“

That search is coming soon. Cahill is set to graduate in December 2015 and is ready to make a positive impact on the world.

“If the work I am doing affects someone somewhere in a positive way, then that is success in my book.”