Up for the challenge

By Emily Schmidt
University Communications Student Assistant

MINOT, N.D. – Jem Dolce has been problem-solving since she was old enough to use a cell phone.

The sophomore computer science major moved to Minot from the Bahamas after noticing the University's admissions office did the problem-solving for her.

“Since I’m an international student, they really worked fast to get everything I needed for my visa,” she said.  “That was really cool, so I was like, OK, the school is on top of it.”

But Dolce knew she would study computer science before she started college.

“Ever since I was younger, when my parents’ phones or any of my cheap tablets that I got had an issue, I would always try to fix them,” she said. “Then I'm like, OK, I'm good at this. I would watch YouTube videos, and when that didn’t work, I'd just find the issue myself. I always took apart computers and things like that.

“I don't see myself with anything else. I just really like computers and how they work, and I want to understand them a bit more. I know that computer science is a growing thing, and everything's moving more towards a digital age. I just want to be up there when it goes there.”

On top of her schoolwork, Dolce also works as a resident assistant (RA).

“I really love my residents,” she said. “We’ve created bonds. When they need something, if they just want to hang, they come in my room, when there's an issue, they let me know. I just really like being there for people, and I really like that they come to me confide in me. I've made a lot of new friends.”

When she isn’t studying for her classes or on duty as an RA, you can find her working on her own technological projects.

“I have another friend who studies computer science back home; I help him with his homework, and then we give each other things to do,” she said. “Like, hey, make this simple website, or hey, code this calculator program, and I'm like, OK, and you'll do the same to keep each other on our toes.”

Dolce faces many challenges in computer science, one of which is the difficulty level of the coursework.

“It's pretty hard, but when you figure it out, it's like, Oh, makes sense now,” she said. “I like to challenge myself because I like to figure things out on my own.”

The field also faces a large gender gap. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the 2017-2018 academic school year, females made up only 20% of computer and information science bachelor's degrees.

As always, Dolce is up for the challenge.

“I also like computer science because it's a really male-dominated field,” she said. “There's a stigma to women in computer science not being taken as seriously. I feel like some girls are discouraged because when I first said I wanted to be a computer science major, some people were like, ‘Oh, really? A girl?’ and I'm like, yes, a girl.”

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 02/19/21   

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