Imani Gosserand, Engineering Possibilities

Imani Gosserand likes to "apply the power of engineering in new and different ways."
—Photo courtesy of Imani Gosserand

In high school, Imani Gosserand ’21 found time for nearly 24 hours of gymnastics practice a week as captain of her team, while still exceling in her studies and volunteering in her community. When it came to choosing a college, she looked for a place that would challenge her academically while stimulating her multifaceted interests.

The Michigan-born, Arkansas-raised computer scientist was drawn to Columbia by the broadness of the Core Curriculum and the wide range of research opportunities, as well as the limitless possibilities of life in New York City. Having studied programming at Stanford and helped run a program introducing STEM to kids in elementary school, she wanted to apply the power of engineering in new and different ways.

“Once I began learning physics, a lot of movements in gymnastics made more sense to me,” Gosserand said. “It was cool to understand how I was able to accomplish the skills I performed. That’s why math and science have always been interesting to me—once I learn new information, I can apply it to everyday life and gain a completely different perspective on different things.”

In her first semester, she dove into computer science, chemistry, physics, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, in addition to getting involved with several groups working for a better world. She joined the Columbia chapter of Engineers Without Borders-USA’s Uganda project, which is organizing a trip this summer to bring electricity to the rural community of Orungo using an innovative pay-as-you-go model. And, she started working with Columbia University EcoReps, a group of students who partner with university administrators to raise awareness and implement green initiatives on campus, helping plan a sustainability summit for high schoolers.

Back for her second semester in Morningside Heights, Gosserand is looking forward to honing her programming skills in Python and Java, pursuing her extracurriculars and possibly an independent research project through the Columbia Undergraduate Scholar Program (CUSP), and exploring more of the city and its cuisines. She plans to major in computer science, perhaps minoring in sustainable development, and envisions a career with environmentally responsible companies.

“STEM is enticing because the field is continuously changing and there will always be new things to learn and challenging problems to solve,” Gosserand said. “Using those skills daily while bettering the world to me sounds like a dream.”

by Jesse Adams

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