Cyril Pillai

November 3, 2022

Hometown: Lake in the Hills, IL
Year at Baylor: Sophomore
Major: Bioinformatics

Q: How did you decide on Baylor?

A: My first visit at Baylor was truly surreal. I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere, the warm staff and the dedication to the ECS department. I was initially set on pursuing computer science, but the ECS staff introduced me to bioinformatics. The staff's initiative to help me even though I wasn't a student at the time really inspired me to study below and become like them. From that point on, I knew Baylor was the right school for me. I'm so glad I chose Baylor. Even though I was a remote student last year during COVID-19, there was a lot to enjoy like the virtual events, basketball games and online socials. The professors were very dedicated to helping us too, offering extra office hours/sessions just for the online students. I genuinely believe my Baylor experience will only get better from here, given it’s my first semester on campus. 

Q: Talk some about which student organizations/extracurricular activities are you involved in at Baylor and ECS. What have any of those experiences been like? 

A: I'm part of BURST (Baylor Undergraduate Research in Science and Technology) and BOOST (Baylor Online-Only Students Transformed). Though their focuses are mainly on the sciences and the assimilation of online students back into the physical Baylor community, I've had a chance to explore my technical side through these clubs, too. I've written programs to facilitate scheduling processes as well as help design a website using a CMS tool. Being able to use computer science in other disciplines is why I chose bioinformatics in the first place, so it has been very exciting that these clubs have given me an avenue to explore further applications of the study. 

Q: What has been your favorite ECS class and why? 

A: My favorite ECS class so far has been Intro to Computer Science II. I really liked the professor (Dr. Matthew Aars), but more importantly I learned to think differently. Prior to this course, I studied Java on my own, but I wasn't familiar with the various memory management techniques available in C++ using pointers. The ideas were difficult for me at first, but the course showed me to appreciate computer science for its complexities, shortcuts and freedom to design a solution to a problem in a number of ways.

Q: What are your plans after graduation and career goals?

A: I hope to work toward a Masters/PhD in bioinformatics and then work as a professor/researcher. The field of genomics has a myriad of applications, and my goal is to use it in conjunction with data science to enhance healthcare.