A major in software engineering meets the challenges | Nebraska today

Challenges accepted.

Whether she pushes back stereotypes or cynics, Nicole Livingston, a freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, never shies away from adversity.

While majoring in software engineering at the College of Engineering, Livingston recently decided to add a minor in mathematics from the College of Arts and Sciences to her study plans.

“I have always loved math and excelled at it. I wanted to push myself more and do something that I love, ”said Livingston.

As a member of the Second Cohort of STEM CONNECT Nebraska Fellows, a grant funded by the National Science Foundation, Livingston will find the support of 25 other students through this scholarship program. STEM CONNECT gives students who choose a STEM major the opportunity to work closely with faculty and peer mentors and join a community of students who share an interest in STEM subjects.

In addition to the 27 students from Nebraska, 12 students from Southeast Community College and nine from Western Nebraska Community College received STEM CONNECT scholarships.

Livingston discovered her passion for coding when she attended a summer coding camp at a young age. She was instantly hooked.

Originally from Spokane Valley, Washington, Livingston chose to study in Nebraska and pursue software engineering because of his mother, who studied electrical engineering in Nebraska and went on to earn a master’s degree in computer science. Livingston’s mother now works as a systems engineer.

Led by this example and her experience as a woman in STEM, Livingston strives to shatter stereotypes of who can be successful in these fields.

“I have found myself on several occasions having to explain and almost argue with someone to convince them that I am indeed in my major,” Livingston said.

In previous lessons, she was no stranger to assumptions made that she didn’t understand concepts – and her peers overexplained in an attempt to be helpful.

“Whenever I was told ‘you will never be able to succeed’, or something similar, from someone who was mistakenly convinced that because of my appearance or my gender, I could not. not be successful in a STEM field, I immediately remembered my mom and how if she could do it, so could I, ”Livingston said.

This determination drives Livingston to overcome stereotypes and challenges she faces and pursue her goals, while uplifting others along the way. Livingston tries to mentor those around him, encouraging them in their individual abilities.

While Livingston is still exploring potential careers, after graduating, she hopes to use her coding skills to positively impact the lives of others.

To those who are passionate about STEM but are unsure of their ability to be successful, Livingston said, “It is hard work and may seem difficult at first, but once you understand the problem it is really worth it. “

About the Author:

This article on Nicole Livingston was written by Tori Pedersen, a junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a major in agricultural leadership and education. She works at the CSMCE as a communication attaché.

Learn more about STEM CONNECT fellows

Gordon K. Morehouse