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Sabrina Mielke, a first-generation college graduate who immigrated from Germany to the United States, says she first discovered her interest in computer science in middle school during a trip to her local library. “It was a magical place where you could browse the internet using ‘Google’ to research anything,” said Mielke.

To learn more about Mielke, check out this brief Q&A.

When did you first discover the STEM field?

A few senior students who saw my enthusiasm for the internet while browsing online at a local library, offered to teach me HTML, when I was in middle school. I started designing personal websites and when I became even more fascinated with what I learned, I read more about coding. I checked out books on C++ and realized, full of excitement, that you could build computer programs yourself! I still have that same excitement today.

Why did you choose to attend Hopkins?

During the summer of 2016, while interning in the natural language processing department at the University of Southern California, I decided that research, and in particular graduate school, were my next steps for my academic career. The work that I did not only convinced me, but also my advisers that graduate school was the right next step. The recommendation letters that they then provided got me accepted into Hopkins.

What is your expected graduation date?

I hope to complete my doctoral program in 2022.

What are your post-graduation plans?

I haven’t decided, but I want to stay in academia. Teaching is the one thing that I enjoy the most over all the years in higher education.

If you had to choose an engineer for inspiration or motivation, who would it be and why?

Emily Dinan, an engineer at Facebook, is inspirational to me because of how she sets boundaries for work and her personal life. She was my intern host, who unlike most people in our field not only manages to keep work and life separate, but also excel at work as a researcher and mentor.

What are some extra-curricular activities that you have been doing to maintain during the pandemic?

Last year I started biking regularly as a way to get out of the house and it’s been great. It has been calming for me to ride around local college campuses and parks.

Mielke is a fourth year PhD student in computer science and the Center for Language and Speech Processing. Her faculty adviser is Jason Eisner, professor in computer science.

To check out, Mielke’s current research, click here.