Maura Verrill ’20

 

Majors: Computer Science and Mathematics

Minor: Education

What do you do now?

I am currently a software engineer at BAE Systems, Inc.; BAE creates cutting edge technology for our military as well as commercial applications. Currently, I work on an algorithms team that utilizes machine learning and complex mathematics to create solutions for a military application; we then implement these algorithms with code. Much of the math we develop is solved by experts who hold PhDs; these algorithms are then coded by software engineers. I get to work on top-secret applications that have a life-saving impact.

How did your academic experience at Saint Michael’s College help prepare you for your career?

At my job, I work with C++, C, and Python, all in a Linux environment. These are all tools that I learned through my computer science courses. These courses also gave me the ability to know how to test code, comment appropriately, and the ability to learn things I didn’t immediately know more easily. My math coursework helps me be able to understand the math that I am encoding, and potentially in the future, create solutions utilizing mathematics.

What is your favorite memory or class from your time studying at St. Mike’s?

My favorite course at St. Mike’s was operating systems, while I am not specifically using the knowledge from this course in my job every day, it was interesting and challenging. I talked about this course a lot in my interview for my job (I interviewed the day before my OS final), and my in-depth knowledge certainly helped me land the job. This course’s labs were also done in C, which I see a lot of at my job. I know OS has a bad reputation, and while it is challenging, it’s manageable!!

Do you have any advice for incoming or current students?

Don’t be afraid of challenging courses, that knowledge is more important than your GPA. Employers know the courses you are taking are difficult and they would rather have you take courses that help build your knowledge base than take a GPA booster. While doing well in school is great, it doesn’t matter as much as you think it will when you leave.

Lastly, have fun! You never know when a pandemic could come and sweep away the final weeks of your senior year. Classes are important, but so are your friends, the connections you make, and memories that will last a lifetime. Have balance, but have fun!