Outstanding Graduate, Spring 2022
Morgan Cividanes chose to push her boundaries by leaving home in California to study informatics at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. She says expanding her horizons here was a function of tremendous campus diversity.
“There are so many different people representing so many different backgrounds within the Fulton Schools,” she says. “This breadth means we draw on multiple perspectives to come up with the most innovative solutions to challenging problems.”
Cividanes says she learned to appreciate similar breadth through her major.
“I’ve had real flexibility to explore different fields within computing,” she says, “and this has allowed me to become well-versed in many different technologies.”
Alongside completing her coursework, Cividanes says that the experience of study abroad in Tokyo helped her to develop useful programming skills and a deeper understanding of another culture. She also felt a great sense of achievement in serving as chapter president of the Gamma Rho Lambda sorority.
“It made me realize how much I have come out of my shell at ASU,” she says. “I started here as an out-of-state student from northern California. So, I went from knowing no one to being extremely involved in the LGBTQIA+ community and becoming a leader.”
Cividanes says she is very grateful for the support of Senior Lecturer Janaka Balasooriya, and that she grew significantly as a student within his computer science courses, as well as through service as both a grader and an undergraduate teaching assistant for him.
“The latter was especially meaningful because I am not a computer science student,” she says, “but he recognized my passion for the subject and gave me these great opportunities.”
Cividanes says that Balasooriya helped her to see that engineering education is not just about her major, but also about the motivation to apply course knowledge in a way that positively influences other people.
“His support and trust made an enormous impact on me as a student and as a future professional,” she says.
After graduation, Cividanes is beginning work as a technology analyst for Wells Fargo. She also plans to start an ASU online master’s degree program for engineering science in software engineering.
“My long-term career aspirations are to be a software engineer,” she says, “and I have a goal to achieve the title of senior software engineer within five years. I really want to develop innovative applications for mobile platforms.”