Outstanding Seniors in the College of Science: Rebekah Julicher

Nov. 30, 2022
Rebekah Julicher Graphic

This fall, departments in the University of Arizona's College of Science nominated an outstanding senior who went above and beyond during their time as a Wildcat. We are pleased to share their stories as they reflect on their time at UArizona. Next up in the senior spotlight series is Rebekah Julicher.

Rebekah Julicher
Computer Science

College of Science: Why did you choose your area of study?
Julicher: I primarily chose it because of my dad, he's a computer engineer and has always been big on having me and my siblings do any STEM activities we can. One of the longest-lasting was when my brother and I did straight seven years of competitive robotics, with my brother working more on the building side of the robots and me more on the coding side. He and I are respectively in mechanical engineering and computer science now, so you could say that was formative. I also like art, and computer science has a lot of applications in fields where art (UI/UX design usually) and science collide in a way that results in some really solid jobs.

COS: Tell us about a class or research project you really enjoyed.
Julicher: ISTA303, Creative Coding. It's kind of a mix of coding and engineering, it focuses on teaching rapid prototyping (3D printers, a selection of shop tools, soldering, and laser cutters, which I had prior experience in) and using CAD programs and Arduinos to make projects. I loved it because it gave a lot of freedom in the project designs, and as long as it did what the specifications required, your project could look like anything. So my point here is that I made an octopus that lights up in the dark and maps out distances to the objects around it with sonar. It also has eyebrows that raise or lower depending on how far away things are (because it's "concentrating" to see them). It's adorable.

COS: What is one specific memory from your time at UA that you'll cherish forever?
Julicher: I'd have to go with taking part in the general shenanigans my Ethics class got up to, both in and out of class time, and then meeting those classmates in person when classes went back offline. The professor was a great sport about it, but while we took the work seriously, we would constantly be coming to Zoom classes with wacky profile pictures, funny outfits, cameras flipped upside-down, the works. Meeting people on campus who recognized me in real life despite having never met me in person was both startling and funny. One specific time, I was working on a project while ranting to a classmate about the lore for a video game during open lab hours, and a person across the table pauses. He looks at me, then down at his phone, then back up at me a few times. I get curious and ask what's up, and he looks down and goes "This might sound weird, but are you...[my Discord chat username]?" Apparently he had recognized me purely off of the fact that my real life enthusiastic ranting over this specific video game was identical to how I talked online in the ethics class Discord server. I'm still not sure if I should find that as funny as I do.

COS: What is next for you after graduation?
Julicher: Hopefully a Masters degree in Human-Computer Interaction, likely in another state. Ideally, I'd like to shift that degree in the direction of simulation/game development. There is a lot of work happening in those realms that I find absolutely fascinating, especially in regards to accessibility, cybersickness reduction, and development of immersive environments. That said, I currently work in an industry which is wildly different from what I would have imagined myself doing, so there's a lot of possibilities and I look forward to seeing what varieties of tech I can work with.