LINO LAKES — In a world that is always changing and where technology is constantly developing, one Centennial grad is eager for the possibilities.
Rachel Korkowski, a Lino Lakes resident, graduated from Centennial High School in 2016. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in May after three years, with a major in computer science and a certificate in American Sign Language.
Korkowski has her mother, Sue Korkowski, to thank for pushing her to take a programming class when she was a junior in high school. “I didn’t want to take it, but my mom said it was a good field, there are a lot of jobs right now, it is a really good field for women. I decided to do it, but I was not pumped about it ... I ended up absolutely loving it.”
Her senior year of high school, Korkowski took post-secondary enrollment option (PSEO) courses at the University of Northwestern St. Paul and started in the computer science program.
“It is almost like a puzzle. You know what the end goal is, and you have to try to figure out how to get there and work through it,” she explained. “There are always new things to learn, you can never know everything.”
While at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Korkowski was a teacher’s assistant for computer science courses for several semesters and also served as the vice president of the Women in IT club. Following her freshman year, she was offered a summer internship working as a developer for PTC in Blaine.
After her sophomore year, Korkowski landed another summer internship as an applications developer intern at Securian Financial in St. Paul. She continued to intern with the company the following summer. The fall before she graduated, she was offered a full-time position with the company. After interviewing with a couple other companies, Korkowski decided to accept Securian’s offer and continued to work with the company part time while she completed her degree. In June she began working full time.
A perk of the computer science field, Korkoski said, is that the majority of computer science students she knows had jobs lined up for after graduation by Thanksgiving of their senior year.
“There is technology everywhere, it is in everything. You are going to find something with your specific interests. Every company is going to need technology, so you are really good on job security,” she said. Korkoski added that many tech jobs can be geared toward specific hobbies and interests.
As an application developer at Securian Financial, Korkoski works with a team that supports the retirement part of the business. On a day-to-day basis, she is responsible for working on new features for the website, upgrades, working out issues and helping people who are having trouble accessing the website.
“There are endless possibilities in computer science. Just because you don’t like one thing, there are so many different things that you can try and be in a totally different space and not be working with something that you don’t enjoy,” she said.
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