Outstanding Graduate, Spring 2023
Shaira Alam always knew she wanted to pursue engineering — a field that she felt aligned with her interests because of its constant growth, innovation and versatility.
“At my core, I’m a problem solver,” she says. “I absolutely love my major of computer systems engineering because it touches on the best of both worlds in hardware and software.”
Alam pursued her degree in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, and says she was drawn to how the Fulton Schools exemplifies diversity and innovation. She says she chose her major because of its profound influence on many areas of technology, including health care, robotics, aerospace and more.
“During my first semester, while taking CSE 110 Principles of Programming and FSE 100 Introduction to Engineering, I had a realization that nothing could be more powerful than the influence software has on real-life devices and making them function autonomously all from our fingertips,” she says. “Seeing that real-life application of computer engineering early on made me realize I chose the right path.”
Alam also built a sense of community through her involvement in Women in Computer Science, or WiCS, where she currently serves as president. She was also a mentee and mentor in the WiCS mentorship program, served as part of the web committee and was the former vice president of internal affairs.
“As a woman in tech, it can be jarring to be in a field that doesn’t often have a lot of women in it, let alone not having a good community to be able to connect with,” says Alam, who joined WiCS as a first-year student. “It has been an incredible honor to not only be a part of this amazing organization as a member, but also as a leader to help break boundaries in the tech field.”
While at ASU, Alam’s education was also shaped by mentors including Teaching Professors Farideh Tadayon-Navabi and Mutsumi Nakamura and Associate Teaching Professor Ryan Meuth, who she says all acted as great soundboards when she needed academic and professional advice.
Following graduation, Alam will continue her education and pursue her master’s degree in computer science at the University of California, Los Angeles. Alam was a highly sought-after candidate, choosing UCLA from multiple graduate school admission offers and interest from industry employers such as General Motors, Honeywell, Prudential Financial, Bank of America, Automatic Data Processing, Ford Motor Company and the Toronto-Dominion Bank.