Hometown: Harare, Zimbabwe
"The School of Computing is a wonderful place. It’s really friendly and you always know who you can turn to for support. In fact, the University on the whole is great for this too." - Heather Ellis
A visit to a University of Dundee Open Day, and the School of Computing’s Queen Mother Building, was all it took to convince Heather that she wanted to study there. She said:
“I fell in love with the building and the sense of family and community. I immediately knew that I wanted to study here. It felt like I would be a part of something and it felt like the sort of environment where people would care about who I am rather than thinking of me as just another applicant.
“I had no computing background, but once I started the degree and learnt how to programme, I had a huge sense of achievement. The School of Computing is a wonderful place. It’s really friendly and you always know who you can turn to for support. In fact, the University on the whole is great for this too. You always know there are lecturers or people in support services like the Counselling Service, who you can go to during any difficult times that you encounter. This can be especially helpful for students who have moved from quite faraway.”
Heather has also been involved in a number of extra-curricular activities. She helped to establish the Photography Society, took part in Hack events and has been involved in the Straight-Talking User Group, which aims to create a place where adults with complex disabilities can meet to explore technology and where they can work with researchers to develop better technology.
Heather is considering a number of different options after graduation. She said:
“I’m currently thinking about doing a PhD and I’ve been looking at a few different courses. I’m particularly interested in User Experience. I’m also considering working in industry and I’ve been toying with the idea of setting up a company one day, but that probably wouldn’t be for another few years!”
Finally, Heather’s once piece of advice to prospective students is:
“Even if you don’t have a background in computing, you don’t have to be nervous about pursuing a degree in this area. When I started the course I realised that there were whole areas of computing that I didn’t even know existed but which I could be a part of. If you are curious about an area that you don’t have experience in, don’t be afraid to explore it!”