Undergraduate Student Spotlight: Saeshu Karthika

March 19, 2024

Meet Saeshu Karthika. She is a sophomore Computer Science major, who works as an undergraduate researcher and is also a tutor in our Computer Science Help Room.

“I always enjoyed solving puzzles and playing chess. My favorite subject growing up was Mathematics. These different interests resulted in a single passion: computer science.” - Saeshu Karthika

Why did you choose to attend Iowa State University?

Iowa State caters to every student’s needs. I chose ISU because it offers diversity and inclusion. 


What is your favorite thing about Iowa State?

I love the people at ISU / Ames. Despite being an international student, I felt connected and safe.

That’s wonderful! How did you build your community here in Ames to help you feel that connection as an international student?

 I actively engaged with the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO), which helped me connect with diverse people. Additionally, joining the Indian Student Association (ISA), a multicultural club, provided me with a sense of community through various events and festivals. 

Like most college students, you have had to worry about the affordability of a college education. Could you tell us a little about that and the role scholarships have played in your experience here at Iowa State University?

 Being an international student, the higher education fees compared to my home country posed a significant challenge. However, the scholarship from Iowa State greatly eased this burden, allowing me to have a much better college experience.

That’s wonderful to hear. What activities have you been involved in on campus during your college experience so far?

I am involved in club activities such Society of Women engineers, where I am the career development chair. I am also the President of Women Who Code club where we promote greater female participation in coding contests and hackathons. Moreover, recently, I was elected as the Vice President of Indian Student Association. I hope to plan events and activities that showcases our culture. 

Apart from this, I am part of a band called Punk Punditz where we perform at local places and events.

You are an undergraduate researcher as well. Could you please tell us a little about that experience?

Currently, I'm working as an Undergraduate Research Assistant at Dr. Tichakorn Wongpiromsarn’s autonomous systems laboratory. My work involved implementing control algorithms for precise control and navigation. I'm also exploring other areas like perception and planning to broaden my experience and find my niche.

How did you become interested in computer science?

I always enjoyed solving puzzles or playing chess. My favorite subject growing up was Mathematics. These different interests resulted in a single passion: computer science.

What specific interests do you have in the field?

My specific interests include artificial intelligence and machine learning.

So far, what has been your favorite computer science course?

COM S 227 has been my favorite class so far. Professor Tancreti's teaching style was engaging, and the course's emphasis on assignments related to game development made the learning experience both enjoyable and hands-on.

Outside of computer science, what are some things that you like to do for fun?

I like to play badminton, sing, and binge-watch series.

What are your plans for the summer? 

For the summer, I've applied to Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs at various universities that align with my research interests. 

That’s great! Looking towards the future, what is one thing you are looking forward to as you continue your studies?

I'm eagerly looking forward to diving into upper-level computer science courses. I am also serving as the Vice-President of ISA and I'm excited about the opportunity to give back to the community.

Finally, we have one last question: what advice do you have for incoming computer science students or for any students who are struggling?

Trust your passion for choosing computer science. When you are feeling stressed, do something that you enjoy, a hobby.