Graduation Spotlight: Usman Moazzam

Usman Moazzam

Major: Computer Science

Why did you choose this area of study?

I originally started college as pre-med at the University of Washington. After taking their biology and chemistry series, and even earning more than 500 clinical hours in hospitals and free clinics, I started to get more and more interested in the intersection of health and computing, and made the decision to switch to Computer Science and transfer to Case Western [Reserve]. Studying Computer Science gives me the unique opportunity to combine my knowledge about the health sciences and my aptitude for computing to change people's lives for the better.

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduating, I will be starting a full-time position with Microsoft as a Software Engineer and matriculating to Johns Hopkins for their Master's Program in Computer Science.

Why did you choose CWRU?

After spending my first two years at a university where I wasn't afforded the opportunity to take the classes I wanted or change my course of study without reapplying to the school, I realized I want to be at a university where I could continue being curious and pursue studies that I was passionate about. As someone who was really interested in studying the confluence of medicine and computing & data science, I identified with Case Western [Reserve]’s emphasis on the exploration of interdisciplinary excellence, and felt that Case Western [Reserve] would catalyze and support my learning and development into a compassionate community member and future changemaker.

What was your favorite class? And why?

My favorite class so far has been USNA 289T: Community Problem Solving with Dr. Kurt Rhoads. The focus of this class was to learn about and evaluate "design thinking", a systematic process for developing creative, human-centered solutions. Throughout the class, I got the rare opportunity to challenge my own methods of problem solving and apply a new technique to solving an issue in the Cleveland community. The class culminated in a final project, where my team created a prototype software-hardware tool that would help parents and teachers learn more about how to address the issue of lead toxicity plaguing many Cleveland homes and schools, even giving them the tools to determine if their homes were at risk and how to address it. Over the course of the class, I met a lot of great people, learned a lot about myself, and applied my computer science learnings to provide a solution for a public health issue in the community.

What's your favorite thing about CWRU or your favorite memory?

My favorite memory from being at CWRU were the various game nights my friends and I coordinated for our whole group during the pandemic and other times we were away from each other. Transferring schools during the pandemic was a really challenging experience, as it made it a lot harder to connect with the school and my peers. These game nights made my experience a lot easier as it gave me a way to meet new people during a time that socializing was quite arduous. In fact, the way I made friends initially was by going to Zoom game nights that my [orientation leader] hosted; now, my [orientation leader] and the people they introduced me to during those nights are some of my best friends.

What's a piece of advice/encouragement you'd like to share with CSE students?

I've found that that my path to "success" on my own terms has never been a straight line. It's important to make plans and have aspirations and dreams, but it's also really important to adapt to obstacles that life throws at you! As someone who was waitlisted to Case Western [Reserve] originally and then transferred here two years later, I can honestly say that I'm glad it happened this way because I had a lot of learning and growing to do before I would've been able to truly succeed and flourish here. Sometimes, we can't even dream up what would be the best path for ourselves, so its important to allow ourselves to deviate enough from our set plans to pursue self-discovery and learn a little bit more about what we're really passionate about. Thanks to tribulations that were originally upsetting and tough to come to terms with, I'm much happier than I would've been had it worked out the first time :)