When Donna North High School student Guillermo Acuna II looks into the future, he sees himself as an inventor who revolutionized technology to another level. The soon-to-be DNHS senior knows he has set a high goal but he is willing to work hard for it. That goal includes taking advantage of opportunities that will help him learn more about his field of interest –computer science.
Acuna’s most recent undertaking took place June 11-17. The 17-year-old was one of 60 juniors and seniors from across Texas selected to participate in The University of Texas at Austin’s Code Longhorn Summer Computer Science Camp. The free program targeted students from historically underrepresented groups in the field of computer science.
“I’m fascinated about the computer science field,” Acuna said. “It wasn’t as popular a couple of years ago but now it’s one of the highest-requested jobs out there in our world. Computer science can teach you things that everyday life can’t teach you.”
According to its website, Code Longhorn is designed to dispel myths about computer science and engage students through computing and problem solving. The camp includes team-building activities, educational sessions and recreation. “I was really excited and overwhelmed that I was afforded this opportunity,” Acuna said. “I’ve participated in several camps throughout my life but Code Longhorn has been by far the best experience I’ve had. I was definitely one of the few lucky ones.”
Acuna said the activities they participated in were impressive. “One of the assignments they had us do involved LED lights,” he said. “The goal was to light them up at a certain time and certain place to create images. It was pretty cool. Another activity taught me new languages within the computer science field that I wasn’t familiar with like html and C++. I didn’t know that different languages can argue for different purposes.”
The camp was also big on teamwork. “As groups, we had to learn to accept each other because there were different races and different cultures within the groups. It was really diverse.”
Acuna also enjoyed the taste of college life and learned a lot about what he needs to do to apply to UT Austin — the university of his choice. “I learned so much,” Acuna said “I learned what I need to do academically to try to get into the college and what I need to do when I graduate to be successful in pursuing a career of my choosing.”
Acuna admits he has big dreams. He would like to work for NASA or Google. “I want to do what Apple did when the company created one of the first computer products but I want to invent something within the software realm,” Acuna said. “I want to be the one to create the next generation of technology.”