Student Spotlight: A Software Engineer Seeks a Master's in Data Analysis and Visualization, Drawn by CUNY's 'Cool Vibe'

Atilio Barreda

Serving as an adjunct teacher for New York City’s Tech-in-Residence Corps in 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, gave software engineer Atilio Barreda his first taste of teaching. To his surprise, he liked it a lot.

That experience spurred Barreda to apply for the M.S. Program in Data Analysis and Visualization at the Graduate Center, and this fall, he joins about 15 other students beginning the interdisciplinary graduate program.  

He comes to the Graduate Center with professional experience as a front-end web developer and engineer for companies as varied as Calvin Klein; the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP); and smaller nonprofits. During the pandemic, he volunteered for New York City’s Tech Talent Pipeline and created an online marketplace for PPE and other essential items for local businesses. He also contributes his skills to Data for Black Lives, a movement committed to using data science to empower communities of color.

Barreda wants to enhance his technical skills in digitization and analytics and is especially pleased that the Graduate Center’s program incorporates the humanities and social sciences. Barreda majored in modern culture and media at Brown University. “Thinking critically and ethically about the technologies that we use is right up my alley and invaluable,” he said. “The program allows me to write again and think about technology as I did as a humanities student.” 

Also important to him is increasing the number of Latinx people in science and technology academic positions. He signed up for a mentoring program that pairs Latinx people going to STEM graduate school with mentors who are successful in Ph.D. programs, just graduated, or professors to mentor them throughout the graduate school process. 

Barreda, who was awarded a Dean’s Merit Scholarship, said that “teaching and the ability to get an affordable master's degree has completely changed my life. I found a cool vibe in CUNY that I'd like to pursue.”

Published by the Office of Communications and Marketing.

Submitted on: AUG 19, 2021

Category: Data Analysis and Visualization | Diversity | GCstories | General GC News | Student News | Voices of the GC