Chris Cortes

  • B.S. Computer Science

Chris Cortes headshot

What inspired you to pursue a STEM-based degree? How did you discover your interest in the field?

I was inspired by the boom of the internet after my childhood and the constant amount of time that I spent on my computer. I discovered my interest in the STEM field after taking an introductory coding class in middle school and from there I became more invested.


Who within STEM serves as an inspiration for you?

A person within STEM that I view as an inspiration is Steve Jobs because he is an example of believing in yourself to achieve your goals. Only a few believed in his idea during its conception; now, Apple is a multi-billion dollar company and a worldwide name.


How would you describe your experiences as a Black and/or Latino student at the School of Engineering?

My experience as a Latino student at Tandon has been overall positive since I found a community within the school of people who come from similar backgrounds to mine. Finding this community has helped me make new friends and feel more welcomed into a predominantly white institution (PWI).


What courses were challenging for you? How did those courses better prepare you for what’s ahead?

The course that was the most challenging for me was Data Structures and Algorithms because it took a more theoretical approach to computer science which I never had experience with before. Although I found this course to be challenging, it is an integral part of my future since every single coding interview relies on the principles that the course outlines.


What are your research/professional career goals?

One of my professional goals is to get a job as a software engineer at any large company, working on projects as a team. Another of my professional goals is to reinvest into my Brooklyn community through STEM education opportunities that I would like to provide.


As an underrepresented minority student, is there something that you recognize more now that you didn’t think of before attending Tandon?

I now recognize that there are more people that look like me at the school than I initially thought. There are also various cultural organizations that you can participate in to find a welcoming environment such as SHPE and NSBE.


How important is it for incoming minority students to utilize their resources (i.e. professors, counselors, advisors, tutors, etc.)?

I believe that it is very important for incoming students to utilize the resources provided to them because we often believe that we have to do everything on our own. Asking for help can both get you the answer to any question that you're looking for, but it can also provide you with a network of individuals to build connections. These connections can be used to provide potential career opportunities and give you an advantage over others without a network.


What advice would you offer to Black and Latino men who are interested in the STEM field?

My advice to Black and Latino men interested in the STEM field is to not be afraid to take risks and to have an open mind. Taking risks helps in developing your character even if that risk doesn’t end up working for you. Learning from your past mistakes helps you become a better person overall. Having an open mind is very important because you will be working in teams in your professional life. It's impossible to work in a team if you can’t put your differences aside and hear other people’s opinions.