An Interview with Faith Sporbert

Faith Sporbert is an accomplished junior at UConn pursuing a dual degree in computer science and French, with a minor in digital arts. She has responsibilities and honors including being a Krenicki Scholar, Computer Science and Engineering Department UTA, Resident Assistant, and Lockheed Martin STEM Scholar. 

Nishitha Edupuganti: Hi Faith! Please introduce yourself and what you are studying at UConn.

Faith Sporbert: My name is Faith Sporbert, and I am a junior at UConn. My minor is in digital arts and I am a part of a dual degree international engineering program pursuing a degree in both computer science and French studies.  On campus, you might meet me as an RA in East, as a TA in the CSE department, or as a member of engineering outreach events.

NE: What are some of your main interests and how do they relate to what you are studying?

FS: If you look at my schedule or anything that I have done at college, one of the most consistent things is that I’ve always tried to expose myself to new experiences and meeting new people. Something I did before I got to UConn was the BRIDGE program, which is a program for minority students entering the School of Engineering. I really appreciate this program because it has built a strong network of support for me! I also get a lot of fulfillment from using my creativity and being able to share my work with other people, which has made me really interested in UI/UX engineering since it combines both my major and minor. Also, my interest in having new experiences is why I decided to add on my dual degree in French. I really love learning about languages and due to my prior French experience in high school, I decided to pursue it. 

NE: How did you join the Dual Degree program and what are some of the benefits?

FS: I remember I had to get permission and signatures to be a part of the program; I had to fill out an application form and send it in. I was really proactive and wanted to be an official member of the program as soon as possible, so I met with the program advisors (which for Technopole France right now is Jennifer Terni) and discussed my interest. This interaction was during the middle of my first semester, and I was already taking French courses by my second semester. That was definitely a big change in what I thought my college experience was going to be like! There are also group advising sessions open for students who are wondering how they can fit another degree into their timeline. Then, you will have two different advisors from CLAS and the SOE, who will help guide you through the process. 

One of the greatest parts of this program is the year abroad! As opposed to a traditional semester abroad, the first fall semester you are taking courses, while your spring semester you actually have an internship in the country you are in. 

NE: What are some of the coolest experiences or projects you have had the chance to work on?

FS: One experience that was very cool took place in November of my freshman year through the Werth Institute. I was placed into a random group, where we had to create a prototype for an invention that would help serve students. We went around campus to conduct interviews and see what main issues students were facing. Based on that we decided to make a product that would help students avoid getting locked out of their dorms. I usually try to grow from experiences that push me out of my comfort zone, and when we had to pitch our concept, I had definitely felt that way. This event was the first time that I was really exposed to the entrepreneurship opportunities that UConn had to offer. 

For one of my minor requirements, I took Introduction to Digital Art. In this course, I was exposed to generative art, a growing and innovative area. You use autonomous systems to partially or to completely create art for you, such as using a machine learning algorithm to turn complex data into a visual experience (check out Refik Anadol). I had the opportunity to create my own program in this course, and I called the work “Frostbyte.” With every iteration of the program, it generated cool-toned images built on triangles of varying opacity and repeating snowflakes, giving it an icy feel. It was so fun to see how I could translate an image in my head onto the computer to recreate it. Through this experience, I got to see the nexus of my major and minor, engineering and art, and how they can be combined to create these new ideas and concepts. 

NE: Tell me about your internship experience and how you got it.

FS: My sophomore year, I was an outreach officer for the Society for Women Engineers, and at the time I was able to attend the SWE National Conference in Anaheim, California. At this conference, there were hundreds of companies recruiting female engineering students at the career fair. I talked to as many recruiting booths as possible throughout this conference. One of the Northrop Grumman recruiters flagged my application, and hours later I got a request for an interview. After this interview, I was offered an internship on the spot. This offer was pretty shocking to me because I was a sophomore and I didn’t expect anything at the time. The process had a really fast turnaround.

Last summer, I completed my 12-week internship at Northrop Grumman in the Mission Systems sector as a Technical Software Engineering Intern. I was assigned remotely to a team in Woodland Hills, CA that was working on a costing and bidding tool. It would be used by project managers and chief engineers to create estimates in hours of labor or in dollars for incoming proposals. 

And for this upcoming summer, I will be working at Synchrony as a BLP Technology Intern. Very similar to last year, I went to another career fair last September to connect with an employee regarding their internship program. But this time, it was the virtual one through the Center for Career Development! I was researching the attending companies on Handshake and signed up for one-on-one slots as early as I could. I had a great experience with Synchrony, and the employee was so personable and made me feel excited about the company and what they do. I followed up with her and thanked her for her time. One of the best things you can do is follow up with the recruiters/representatives after you speak with them to keep your tie to the company strong. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to my first opportunity at Synchrony and learning more about the FinTech industry…and myself!

By Nishitha Edupuganti
Nishitha Edupuganti Nishitha Edupuganti