SCWIST Youth Skills Development Awardee finds her passion in tech

Written by Annie Boltwood, SCWIST Youth Skills Development Awardee 2021 and Sukhbir Kaur, Communications Volunteer.

Computer Science at SFU

From building chatbots to calculating the time complexity of algorithms, it’s been an exciting first semester! Attending Simon Fraser University (SFU) for computer science has taught me more than I could have ever imagined. Anticipation surrounding classes and grades did fill the initial school week. After starting courses, though, I found it easy to balance schoolwork and a job.


When I reflect on this semester, the transition from high school to university was a significant leap in difficulty. I found myself enjoying my programming course, CMPT 120, the most. We covered various concepts in Python programming, including binary, image processing, and reading files, among others. Additionally, the CMPT 105W writing course provided us with a comprehensive foundation in computer science writing. Given a wide selection of tech-related topics to write about, I chose NFTs and CryptoArt for my final essay. Writing my essay on these topics was not only informative but also enjoyable. Some of the more challenging courses for me were Calculus and Discrete Mathematics. But, putting in time and practice into these two classes produced positive results.

Looking Forward

Looking forward to next semester, I will be participating in a more high-level programming course, that focuses on the language C. I am very excited to broaden my skillset with a new language along with what it has to offer. The advice I will follow when I take this course is to practice building my own programs outside of class to become more familiar with C.


SFU also provides many clubs and programs outside of classes. These help students to become more involved in the computer science community. I am a member of WICS (Women in Computer Science) and TechConnect. One of my favourite experiences in TechConnect was winning a scavenger hunt with my team at the beginning of the semester. Not only did we receive a prize, but I also got to make friends and become familiar with my new classmates.


I have learned that with a good work ethic and a passion for STEM, my time here at SFU in the computer science program has been incredibly rewarding. I have already built many valuable connections with my peers which I hope to carry into the future as I enter the tech industry. To conclude, I encourage other girls exploring university programs to consider computer science as it provides many opportunities for women in STEM!