Emily Adams has been named the 2022 Outstanding Senior in Computer Science, and will be graduating this May with her bachelor’s degree, along with a minor in human computer interaction, in just three years.

She was previously awarded the Wright Partman Scholarship in 2019, and has maintained a 3.98 GPA with only one A- on her transcript. She has been awarded a position on the Dean’s List for all of her undergraduate semesters, and ranked at #2 among Computer Science students graduating this spring.

Dimitrios Nikolopoulos, the John W. Hancock Professor of Engineering in the Department of Computer Science, described Adams as “a brilliant student of the fundamentals,” while also exemplifying the “vision and aspiration” of the Virginia Tech computer science program.

Her meritorious résumé included last summer working as a software development engineer intern for Flexwind in Chantilly, Virginia, and two semesters as an undergraduate teaching assistant for the department. “During those two semesters, I discovered my passion even more for computer science and realized how much I love learning and helping others,” she said. Adams cited this teaching experience as one of the reasons why she is choosing to continue her education at Virginia Tech next fall for the accelerated master’s program.

In addition to her academic achievements, Adams has demonstrated a continuous dedication to service and leadership. She has been a member of both the Center for Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED) and the Female Engineering Recruitment Leadership. “I wanted to help other girls see that they, too, could pursue their interests in Science, Technology, Education, and Mathematics (STEM),” she said. “Getting through any degree program is hard, but I think it's even harder when you feel underrepresented or that you don't have many people to lean on, which is why I'm so glad these opportunities were available to me throughout my time in the computer science program.”

Stephen Edwards, associate department head for undergraduate studies for the Department of Computer Science, explained that Adams’ involvement in these programs represents, “The Department’s continued efforts to encourage and support members of underrepresented groups in STEM, and to provide more visible role models throughout our program.” In his nomination letter, Edwards wrote about the respect Adams earned from the computer science faculty, praising her commitment to service and leadership through the Virginia Tech community.

Adams has also been an active member of the Epsilon Tau chapter of the Alpha Chi Omega Women’s Fraternity, an organization that helps to raise awareness for sexual assault and domestic violence. Through this sorority, Adams has helped raise more than $60,000 for the New River Valley Women’s Resource Center. “I am proud to be a member of an organization whose philanthropy is essential, especially on a college campus,” she said. “It's great to know that you're participating in an amazing cause outside of academics.”

“I would like to thank both Professors Ellis and Kulak for inspiring me and encouraging me to pursue graduate school,” said Adams. “I would also like to thank my advisor, Ryan Underwood, for being so supportive and always knowing where to find the answers.”

Congratulations Emily!

--Written by Hannah Lee, an intern for the Department of Computer Science