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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

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Tom Paulus (Photo: Ethan Garcia/SDSU ITS Learning Media) Tom Paulus (Photo: Ethan Garcia/SDSU ITS Learning Media)

Tom Paulus’ Aztec Experience

SDSU student Tom Paulus hopes to one day work at a major technology firm.
By SDSU News Team

“The depth and diversity of the student body is one of the characteristics that truly sets SDSU apart.”

Name: Tom Paulus
Major (and minor): Computer science with an honors minor in interdisciplinary studies
Campus affiliations: Weber Honors College, Instructional Technology Services, Residential Education Office, HTEV (HiTechEdVentures)

1. Why did you choose to attend San Diego State University?

I chose to attend SDSU because it was close to home and presented an excellent value for the education I would receive and the experiences I would have. SDSU stood out to me as a school with an excellent computer science program and a vibrant campus community.

2. What inspired you to declare your major?

Since an early age, I have engaged with technology, starting with small embedded systems like the Arduino and moving up from there. I was especially inspired by the Raspberry Pi, a very affordable credit-card sized computer. These systems opened countless doors for me because they were small, powerful and cheap. I am excited by where technology is headed, and I want to help drive that innovation.

3. Which SDSU faculty or staff member has been the most influential throughout your SDSU journey?

I have been fortunate to have the support of the wonderful staffs of in the Weber Honors College, Instructional Technology Services and Residential Education. They have supported me in various capacities through my time at SDSU, from helping me to find a fantastic study abroad program to providing me with invaluable training on building diverse and inclusive communities and giving me a place where I can do what I love. Without their support, I would not be where I am today, and I know that they will be there for me, even after I graduate.

4. What does student success mean to you?

Student success means students accomplishing the goals they set out for themselves, whether it is graduating summa cum laude, getting accepted to medical school or graduating early. This can further be extended to the experiences students have while at SDSU, including studying abroad or conducting research alongside faculty.

5. What experience at SDSU has changed your life the most?

During my second year at SDSU, I worked in the residence halls as an academic mentor, specifically with the Honors Residential Learning Community. As an academic mentor, I provided my floor of about 40 first-year residents academic guidance and facilitated their overall transition to college. Working together and living in a community with my residents was a great learning experience, and we all grew as a result of the experiences that we had.

6. What has been your proudest achievement while at SDSU?

I am most proud of the fact that I am on-track to graduate in May 2018 with honors. Coming in with credits as a freshman in 2015 with allowed me to accelerate my college course timeline and study abroad at the University of Jyväskylä, a program that is only for juniors and seniors.

7. Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years, I see myself being employed at a major technology firm working to improve the role of technology in our everyday lives.

8. What’s your favorite thing about being an Aztec?

As a member of the Weber Honors College, I have gotten to work collaboratively with students and faculty from other disciplines. Additionally, because of the vast array of resources the Weber Honors College staff provides, I have been able to embark upon awe-inspiring experiences, like studying abroad in Finland at the University of Jyväskylä. Beyond that, both while living in the residence halls during my freshman year and then serving as an academic mentor during my second year, I have gotten to meet students from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, several of whom I am now close friends with. The depth and diversity of the student body is one of the characteristics that truly sets SDSU apart.