Thanks to Scholarships, David Mendez is Pursuing His Passion for Coding

By Francesca MacCormack, Office of Development Communications Posted Thu, 02/22/2018 - 15:00

David Mendez ‘19 spent summers during high school taking free computer science courses online because his high school didn’t offer them.

When he arrived at USF for his first visit to campus on a school field trip, the tour included a stop at the top of Lone Mountain. Seeing the whole city of San Francisco in front of him, David felt the promise of the next four years and knew USF was the school for him.

Although he is from Half Moon Bay, just 30 miles south of San Francisco, USF offered the opportunity to study computer science and become a programmer in a city where he felt an instant connection. He says scholarships made this possible.

“I am grateful to USF and to donors that give to scholarships,” he said. “I appreciate and love USF and this community because I received a scholarship to be here.”

Computer Science with an Ethical Lens

Participating in the USF Hackathon event sparked David’s interest in pursuing cyber security as a career.

“Computer science is going to play a much larger role in our future,” he explained. “We can make the ‘Change the World from Here’ motto real by using technology for good.”

Through his coursework, David has gained an understanding of the intersection of ethics and technology. He appreciates that USF faculty encourage him to discover the solutions to challenges in learning.

“Receiving a scholarship at USF has allowed me to pursue computer science through an ethical lens,” he said.

Paying it Forward

David has had a broad, well-rounded experience at USF. In addition to playing rugby on the university’s club sport team, David is interested in history. It helps us to understand other people, no matter what their background, he says. He’s also learning a lot about Jesuit values.

“We are one. We are also unique individuals,” he said. “’Change the World from Here’ means we will see positive change, we can improve the lives of others, and we make the world a better place.”

It’s those Jesuit values, incorporated into his classes and also supported by his mentor on the rugby team, that help David to understand other people and diverse perspectives. The inclusivity of USF also makes him feel welcome.

“I have an accent, and I feel so accepted,” he said. “There’s an appreciation for diversity and for different types of people.”

One day, David said, he hopes to support students at USF, too.

“The generosity of others giving to USF,” he said, “gives me hope that I can do the same.”

Find out more about giving to scholarships and financial aid