My name is Daniel Seita, and I am a first-year computer science PhD student at the University of California, Berkeley. I am working with Professor John Canny on machine learning and human-computer interaction research. I expect to stay at Berkeley for at least six years to form a strong research record before going out on the job market. My career goals are to become either a professor or a research scientist.
In retrospect, I am surprised at my life’s journey so far, as I had long viewed myself as a future doctor or lawyer. It was not until after I had attended AccessComputing’s Summer Academy for Advancing Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Computing in 2011 that I seriously considered a career in computer science.
My experience at the Summer Academy, where I was surrounded by talented deaf students and did not have to worry much about communication, provided a welcome social change from college. I attended Williams College from 2010 to 2014 and was its first (and only) deaf student. Throughout my years at Williams, they provided me with excellent interpreting and note-taking services for my classes. The computer science professors were also friendly and supportive. In the summers after the Summer Academy, I participated in two NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates, which, along with my academic record, helped me get in Berkeley’s PhD program.
Every now and then, I think about how unbelievable it is that I got to where I am today. My journey into the world of computer science would not have been possible without all the help and support I’ve received in my years of school. My support network includes all my interpreters, my note-takers, deaf teachers and assistants, AccessComputing, and of course, my parents. From elementary, middle, and high school at Guilderland, to four years at Williams, and now at Berkeley, they have remained my strongest supporters.