Student Spotlight: Donna Ismail '24

Student Spotlight: Donna Ismail '24

Ismail is majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics.

Donna Ismail grew up in nearby Bridgeport, Connecticut, but moved to Nashville, Tennessee, for her senior year of high school. When it came time to choose a college, the familiar environment of Fairfield University drew her back to the Northeast. Ismail gravitated to the tight-knit community, small class sizes, alumni network, and scenic town and beach. She said, “The environment that you make your home for four or more years is crucial to your academic, personal, and professional development.”

Ismail is majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics and expects to graduate in May 2024. Several scholarships, including the Bellarmine Scholarship, the O’Leary Scholarship, and the David and Lori Cowen Scholarship, have helped her achieve her educational goals with no debt and have also helped her create meaningful connections. “These connections with people on campus, faculty, and staff, board of trustee members, campus partners, and alumni have helped me grow as a person and truly understand the benefit of a Fairfield University education.” Getting involved and advocating for others has been a driving force for Ismail during her time at Fairfield. She founded the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEM club and does fundraising for the National Society of Black Engineers. She is also a member of the Black Student Union, the Society of Women Engineers, and founded and executed the first annual Multicultural Week through the Fairfield University Student Association to raise money for an underrepresented group on campus. Her campus jobs included working in the Office of Residence Life for three years, serving as a senior resident assistant and the RA/CPA council president, working in the Center for Social Impact as a community-engaged research fellow, and as a Fairfield University Bellarmine Campus teaching assistant. “All these experiences have enhanced my time at Fairfield, given me the chance to show my leadership capabilities, as well as showcase the things that matter to me.”

Ismail has deep appreciation and affection for her professors and the many other resources on campus available to students, such as the Counseling Center, the Dean of Students Office, and the Office of Accessibility. She said, “I would also like to thank the Office of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs for helping me and others like me have a great experience here at Fairfield.” One of those great experiences is visiting her favorite place on campus -- Bellarmine Hall. She likes “what it represents to students from the presidential speech in our first year to commencement ceremonies on our last day. It also has a killer view of the Long Island Sound, as well as enough darkness to watch the stars and moon at night and even catch a few shooting stars.”

Her major has opened opportunities to network with alumni with the same interests and explore career next steps. “A lot of my professors are also Fairfield alumni, which makes them care a lot about their work,” she said. Ismail has plans to pursue a master’s degree in software engineering and a career in artificial intelligence and cyber security that puts her education to good use, helping people and communities. “I want to participate in open-source projects, collaborate with like-minded individuals, and stay updated on industry trends to make a positive impact with my work and education.”

Tags:  School of Engineering and Computing

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