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 Vatsav Sethupathi in the Department of Computer Science.
Hometown: Pune, India
Department: Computer Science
College of Science: Why did you choose your area of study?
Sethupathi: I was initially accepted into the University of Arizona as a Chemistry major towards the end of high school. However, during my senior year, I skipped a bunch of classes with my friends (sorry mom) to code games in our school's computer lab. The summer before starting college, I realized that I genuinely enjoyed programming. I wanted to see how far I could take my newfound passion, so I decided to take a gamble and change my major a few weeks before classes began, and I never looked back ever since.
COS: Tell us about a class or research project you really enjoyed.
Sethupathi: One of the most enjoyable classes I've taken is CSC 539: Statistical Natural Language Processing. Being from India, a country known for its linguistic diversity, one of my passions is learning new languages and the reasoning behind the evolution of certain linguistic traits. I found this class fascinating because it offered a unique intersection between technology and linguistics, allowing me to explore how computational methods can be used to understand and process human languages. One of my favorite projects in the class was to create a model that could classify movie reviews as positive, negative, or neutral. It was exciting to see how algorithms can understand intricate nuances in human language and how these algorithms have tremendous potential in applications that would change our lives in the very near future.
COS: What is one specific memory from your time at UA that you'll cherish forever?
Sethupathi: My favorite memory from UA would have to be the final review session I hosted as a Course Coordinator (Lead TA) for Computer Organization. I've been a Teaching Assistant since sophomore year, but standing in that room after the session ended helped me reflect on how far I had come since then. I felt a deep appreciation for the mentors and friends who had supported me, and a sense of pride in seeing students I once mentored getting ready to become role models for the new wave of students. It was a really special experience, and I couldn't help but feel a warm sense of accomplishment.
COS: What is next for you after graduation?
Sethupathi: After graduation, I plan to take a break and travel home to see my friends and family in India. I'm also going to be travelling solo to Japan for the first time since it's been on my bucket list before I started college. In February, I'll be starting the next chapter of my life as a Software Engineer working for Apple.