Computer science student, Jesse McCandlish, is selected as Senior of the Year 2020.

Read her story here:

When Jesse McCandlish first walked onto Mason’s Fairfax Campus her freshman year, she knew it was home. She then found an even more comfortable place in her computer science (CS) major.

Good professors, she says, also made the difference. She specifically cites Mark Snyder, an associate professor in the department, for her success at the beginning of her computer science career.

She says computer science is a puzzle, and while it excites her, it is difficult. But she didn’t give up, and that’s what she teaches to the students she tutors through the Early Identification Program (EIP), an initiative at Mason designed to identify potential first-generation college students while in middle school and high school and guide them through their education to help better prepare them for a college career. She got involved in EIP her first semester freshmen year--teaching physics and calculus, and talking to students about STEM.

“The biggest thing that scared me coming into CS was that I knew absolutely nothing. But I realized college is built expecting you don’t know anything, so don’t be afraid of not knowing,” says McCandlish.

Her work with the community, her drive, and more are the reasons she was named Mason’s 2020 Senior of the Year.