Short Feature with Women's Cross Country Junior Alice Duan

Alice Duan on the mountain Col du Bachat in the French Alps after the summit of a hike
Alice Duan on the mountain Col du Bachat in the French Alps after the summit of a hike

Junior Alice Duan, a computer science major from Torrance, California, answers a few questions about student life at Carnegie Mellon, what she's excited this semester, why she chose her major, and how her major and internships have influenced her career decisions.

1. What do you enjoy about campus life?

I enjoy being close to my friends all the time and the amount of free food that is available.

2. What do you get involved in outside of cross country/track and field?

I'm involved in a club called Project Rwanda that implements an educational technology project in Kigali every year.  Project Rwanda has enabled me to travel to places that I never would have been able to go otherwise. The value in that is the exposure to different cultures and points of view, which were factors that we had to be very sensitive about when designing the project. So at the end of the day, I like to think I've gained more tolerance and knowledge about different groups of people and how to best design things for them.

3. Tell us about an internship you've had.

I had an internship at Contrast Security in Baltimore, where I worked as a software engineering intern. A typical day involved lots of coding, meetings with other engineers, and sometimes other fun activities.

4. How did your internship help form your career decision?

It gave me an idea of what it was like to be a full time software engineer. I haven't made any decisions based off of it, but now I'll have a better idea of what I'm getting into.

5. What are you excited about this semester?

This semester I'm abroad in the French Alps, so just about everything is exciting! I've been skiing a lot! I'm studying at Grenoble INP which is an engineering school that has an exchange agreement with CMU, and I thought it would be perfect because I could continue working on computer science courses, while having the opportunity to be in the mountains, which you don't get so much in Pittsburgh.

6. Why did you select your course of study – what has been a favorite class?

I kind of arbitrarily chose computer science. I really like algorithms classes, so 451 - Algorithm Design and Analysis was one of my favorite classes.

7. What class would you recommend someone take?

Body Politics! Professor Tetrault is great, and you learn a lot about some really relevant historical events that affect us still in ways that you might not realize.

8. What have you enjoyed about living in Pittsburgh?

The Thai food here is pretty solid.