“King of the Nerds” champion shows why computer science girls rock

Monday, March 18, 2013

Celeste Anderson in the Davis CentreFirst-year Waterloo Computer Science student Celeste Anderson added another accolade to her glowing resume of accomplishments in the world of math, computer science, and gaming by earning the ultimate title of King as the first-place winner of the popular reality-tv series, “King of the Nerds.” Competing in challenges that required mathematical skills, logic, and problem solving, Anderson outsmarted ten other opponents in her climb to the top.  

Though Anderson is no stranger to competition as an internationally-ranked speedcuber and professional gamer, she found the series proved to be a greater challenge as it tested not only her intellect but also her confidence. As a shy individual whose self-confidence waivered during the show through public speaking and performance challenges, Celeste overcame many of these obstacles and grew as an individual. “It was hard for me but I was able to get through it…I overcame my personal battle by believing in myself.”

Taking all of her accomplishments and her newfound self-worth, Celeste has a strong desire to be an ambassador for girls in the world of competitive gaming and specifically in the world of program development and computer science. She wants girls all over the world to know that they can do it too.

Since ending the show, Anderson has set her sights on the next challenge by enrolling in computer science. Identifying with the amazing opportunities found at the University of Waterloo, Anderson chose Computer Science because of the challenges she would face, the excellent co-operative education program, and the flexibility to customize her degree. “I knew Computer Science at Waterloo would challenge me and help me grow into the career I’ve been dreaming of,” said Anderson. “There are so many options available to high school students so it’s a bit overwhelming. I knew though that computer science was going to be the right place for me after my first visit.” Having spent 5 years in the competitive gaming circuit, Anderson strives for nothing more than the best. Her favourite courses so far – introductory psychology and introductory computer science.

While competing, Anderson met a number of young women who were accomplished gamers but would sometimes doubt their abilities after being thrown into a world where men typically dominate. “With gaming, you have to keep fighting and prove your challengers wrong. If you dedicate yourself, it’s such a rewarding experience and you’ll get to a point where you redefine your comfort zone. You just have to believe in your abilities,” said Anderson.

As a first year student, Anderson is hopeful that she can be an inspiration for women who find themselves dealing with the pressures of such a challenging but rewarding program. She hopes to join the Big CSters mentorship program, which is dedicated to helping first-year female Computer Science students transition to university by matching them with upper-year female students.

Anderson’s advice for young women looking to enter the world of computer science – “Do something you’re passionate about! If you’re scared, fight! Don’t let your fears stop you from reaching your goals. At the end of the day, it’s about the big picture. You’ll finish the race and be happy in your career.”

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