Computer science student Terri Hewitt, the recipient of a McDougall scholarship, likes taking on new challenges, both inside and outside the classroom.
As a junior in high school, Terri Hewitt decided she wanted to try something new, so she joined the FIRST Tech Challenge robotics club and started programming for the team without having any prior experience.
“I wanted to just try it and see if I like it. It’s how I like to go about figuring out what I like to do,” Hewitt said.
It turned out to be a great learning experience for her, but not in the way you might expect.
“I learned more from failing than from the succeeding,” she said.
The robotics team did well that year and made it to the state competition but the next year the team lacked teamwork and did not make it to state.
“My senior year in robotics helped me to recognize the value in good teamwork. I believe that a successful team is one in which everyone is willing to make an effort to constantly support each other and positively contribute to the group,” she said.
It was a lesson that she has carried through to college activities and work.
As a junior, Hewitt has just started pro-school and is specializing in cybersecurity, a research area of excellence at Oregon State.
“I liked the concepts of cybersecurity but had never taken a class in it before, so I wasn’t completely sure that this was the degree I wanted to pursue,” she said. “I’m thrilled that I’m enjoying the assigned readings so far and looking forward to taking other cybersecurity classes.”
Receiving the scholarship really helped me to feel secure enough to think about pursuing a master’s degree.
Her spirit of trying new things doesn’t stop at academics. As a freshman, Hewitt decided to learn how to rock climb which has now taken over a lot of her free time. She has served as the secretary and vice president for the Indoor Rock Climbing club and competes in the Northwest Collegiate Climbing Circuit.
“It’s a really good outlet for me to get away from school work,” she said.
This summer Hewitt worked as an intern for Insitu, a Boeing subsidiary, doing software quality assurance which included regression testing, performance testing and technical documentation.
“I got to go into a server data closet and do some testing there which was really fun,” she said.
Hewitt enjoyed the positive and relaxed environment at Insitu and is continuing her internship while she is in school by working remotely.
Hewitt’s high achievement in academics earned her a scholarship from the McDougall Fellowship which was given to 40 students this year. Academic merit scholarships help to recruit and retain top performing students at Oregon State.
“Receiving the scholarship really helped me to feel secure enough to think about pursuing a master’s degree. I feel a lot better about going back for a 5th or 6th year without the pressure of needing to get a job right away,” Hewitt said.