My name is Kelsey! I am a computer science major on the honors track at the University of Utah (U of U) with an emphasis in entertainment arts and engineering (EAE). I enjoy the large field of entertainment engineering, all the possibilities that stem from it, and how it goes hand in hand with computer science.
In high school, I was really into theater and art as well as math and coding. I took AP Computer Science Principles and AP Computer Science A. They were the classes I had the most fun in, getting to create, problem solve, and make mistakes. Computing felt like a very realistic career path with plenty of job opportunities, but I knew I didn’t just want to do computer science. I spent a lot of time doing dance and theater but knew it wasn’t a very realistic major to pursue, considering my health. Through some deep diving to explore my options, I combined my love for STEM with my love for dance and performing and discovered the major entertainment arts and engineering. My decision to major in computer science was solidified my second year into the degree.
After I graduate, I have several different career plans I want to pursue. One route is working with the Space Force as a civilian federal government employee. I would love to do something with technology or cyber security. In the summer of 2022, I attended the International Space Development Conference, met some super cool people, did an aerospace internship stemming from that, and really enjoyed the experience. Another possible career path more focused in my discipline is to find a job in the theater industry. I could be in charge of the lighting, staging, technology, architecture, audio, sets, code, animatronics, robotics, and more. After many years of working with theaters, I would like to find a theater willing to help me give the experience of theater to those with disabilities. I would like to create a show that welcomes all and is fully accessible. I want to decrease audio levels for those with sensory issues, offer ASL interpreters, mobility seating, lighting effects without the need for strobe, and anything else that helps make theater universal. I think it is really important to make the experience of theater open to everyone. I am currently working with U of U athletics doing cameras, shading, and graphics for sports games, which is a similar idea and a lot of fun. A lot of those skills will be useful if I take this career route. My third career route in mind is similar to the last: Working in children’s hospitals working to improve quality of life through technology. Everything and anything from large touch screen walls with interactive elements, virtual reality programs to help during procedures, video games where disabled kids are represented, and so much more! I have so many possibilities ahead of me, and I hope one will shine as the right path for me.
Disability-wise, I have amplified musculoskeletal pain syndrome (AMPS), postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and bipolar depression. It makes getting out of bed and functioning hard due to pain a lot of days. Through the use of therapy, mobility aids, assistive technology, and accommodations, school is a bit more manageable, but I won't lie and say that it is a breeze. It makes independence a struggle and can be quite isolating. In terms of computing, it is actually quite hard: post-pandemic, most computer science classes here at U of U are solely in person with required attendance. This being the case, I am lucky to have a great Center for Disability and Access (CDA) to help meet my many needs. I do not mean to sound discouraging, but rather to encourage you to reach out for help. The CDA is a community I am grateful for. I recommend talking to someone if you could benefit from such services as well.