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Blakeley Hoffman

Place of birth:

Columbia, South Carolina

Family Heritage:

Puerto Rico

Education:

Student of Computer Science and Mathematics, University of South Carolina in Columbia

Current job:

Student

Bio

I'm majoring in computer science, which means I get to build iPhone apps that let people explore history, research ways for computers to solve problems faster, and show others how coding can allow them to be creative and make things on their own. In the past I've worked on an iPhone app called Ward One. The purpose of the app is to convey the untold history of urban renewal in Columbia, SC through archival videos, audio, augmented reality, and other interactive technologies. My favorite part of this project is that I was able to combine my ability to code with new skills in the areas of media arts and history.

Bio

I'm also interested in theory and algorithms and do research in this area. I enjoy thinking about efficient ways for computers to solve hard problems, such as, "How can we place fire stations within a city so that there is a fire station near every house if we have a limited number of fire stations?" or "How can robots work as a team without talking to one another?" Sometimes the mathematics behind these types of problems can be difficult, but I think that it is also really elegant. I also love to teach others about coding and computer science. The ability to program is the ability to make. In the past I have worked with the CS First program to teach elementary school students the fundamentals of computer science and I also work with my university's Women in Computing organization in order to get more women involved with tech. Since technology is constantly changing, I always have the opportunity to be a teacher and show others how to use programming and CS to find answers or to make new things.

Why would you recommend exploring careers in science and technology to other Latina girls?

Coding allows us to make, discover, and connect. Computer science intersects every discipline and is useful in answering lots of big questions we have in the world - it is so much more than math and video games (although it is related to those things too!). It can help us uncover hidden stories in large datasets, make art more interactive and accessible, and be used as a tool to take new measurements about the world in which we live, and communicate with each other regardless of location.

No other skill or field can be used so broadly or have such diverse impact. A career in technology doesn't have to be boring, entirely comprised of numbers, or lonely - it just means solving problems using computers. To be a technologist one can also be an artist, a mathematician, a humanitarian, a journalist, a historian, a scientist, or an engineer.