Student Profile: Grad student Srikanth Bandaru, Co-Founder of Color Layers

Meet Srikanth Bandaru. He’s a tall, talented techie, and an entrepreneur. He’s currently pursuing his Master’s in Computer Science degree at the Seidenberg School, Pace University, in New York. Take it away, Srikanth…

Srikanth Bandaru, SeidenbergLike many teenagers who dream of making it big, my dream was to become an engineer. I attended university back in India, and loved tinkering around with computers and the Internet. The subjects I chose exposed me to a variety of programming languages, which, mind you, I picked up faster than the English language! During my second year at university I signed up for a national level technical conference and won first prize – before I knew it, I was developing websites for every department on campus!

I co-founded my web development company, Color Layers, the very next year. We help clients bring their ideas to life through design-oriented solutions. I work as a web strategy consultant and specialize in front-end development. I focus on solving clients’ problems with technology. To be honest, I never dreamt of how big we were going to be, but I knew we were onto something.

Last year, I decided to do my masters so I could expand my horizons and enhance my personal development. My driving force is to increase the reasoning powers of intelligent agents to improve the way an interface agent interacts with its environment. I am particularly excited about the fields of quantum computing, big data and network security. So that’s reason enough to do this, right? RIGHT?

But… why NYC? Why Pace?

Getting accepted is a great feeling. Getting accepted by your first choice – that puts you over the moon! But let’s be realistic – you have to apply to more than one! The novelty wears of the minute you see the tuition bill! College education comes with a cost. So I had to really debate the idea with my parents. Though I did receive a scholarship to attend Pace, I still wasn’t 100% ready. The next step I took was doing A LOT of research. I looked at a bunch of videos, Tumblr accounts and websites just to get an idea of the campus life at all the universities. Not only were academics one of the most important aspects in making my decision, the culture of campus life and the location mattered as well.

Long story short, these were the main aspects of Pace that won me over in the end:

  • Outstanding academics overall
  • Personable, incredibly intelligent professors
  • So many opportunities in terms of networking/internships/job experience for students (which makes it worth the investment)
  • Students from all over the world (I love meeting new people from different cultures)
  • Extracurricular, volunteer, and internship opportunities – more than you can count in one sitting
  • Beautiful campus (The city is our campus and yeah, NYC IS BEAUTIFUL)

There’s always a bit of uncertainty that comes along with every big decision. But now that I’m in NYC and have started at Seidenberg, I know I’ve made one of the best decisions of my life. I could talk about it all day… but for now…

Peace out everyone!

— Srikanth Bandaru

 

Peta Clarke on the Frontier for Change

Peta Clarke, a Seidenberg graduate student halfway through her MS in Information Systems, also heavily involved in the program Black Girls CODE (BGC – pictured on the right at Google HQ), is also a Senior I.T. Analyst for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In this role, she works as Web Developer, Database Programmer, Software Tester, as well as Business Analyst or Project Manager if need be. Her main responsibility is assuring the quality of Fedwire, the premier electronic payments and securities transfer services that banks, businesses, and government agencies rely on for mission-critical, same-day transactions.

Black Girls CODE, the organization that has worked with Pace on many occasions, was founded in 2011 and has already:

  • Held classes and workshops for over 2,000 girls in mobile app development, game design, Web development, robotics, and other computer programming topics
  • Scaled rapidly, building chapters in seven different states in the US and one chapter in Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Has received requests from more than 80 cities worldwide to bring this innovative program to their communities.

BGC works towards empowering girls of color from ages 7 to 17. The early exposure to S.T.E.M. fields, programming languages, technology mentors, and leadership activities will give the girls tools they need to create their own futures, while providing a network of like-minded peers.

Clarke herself, with two BGC students

Clarke’s work at her bank and her work at BGC have both come together for February, in celebration of Black History Month. The Bank has selected BGC as its service project for February, meaning that 25 students from BGC were invited to the Bank and given an overview of the NY Fed and how the Bank uses technology for daily operation. Bank employees then gave valuable career advice to the students. The event was a success, leaving the students with all kinds of ideas and newfound interests in technological careers of banking.

We asked Peta how Pace has helped her in her goals and she brought up Dr. Jonathan Hill’s support. She was working on launching the NY Chapter of BGC, and  through Dr. Hill, Pace played host to BGC’s first Game Design workshop this past August. Since then, four other workshops have been held, and more are scheduled to happen.

As we segue from Black History Month into Women’s History Month — we felt the need to ask Peta about her thoughts on gender in the technological field. She responded with the idea that  “any imbalance places limits on the potential of a community.” She praises the unique perspectives women bring to a group that would be absent among only men. Then, gender aside, Peta states that “we need more people in tech, period!” Computing-related jobs are on a steep incline, and the computing graduates of the U.S. aren’t even filling a third of those jobs.