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Santiago Giraldo


Paving the way to a bright future by gaining knowledge and essential skills.

For Santiago Giraldo, it was important to choose a major that would allow him to make an impact.
– Santiago Giraldo –

I'm from Colombia, and I moved to the United States when I was ten. It was kind of a shock for me. I remember introducing myself to new friends with an iPad, trying to translate jokes. The fact that I was able to do that with technology was inspiring. I thought, if this is what technology can do for me, I wonder if I could ever create something innovative myself. I chose computer science as my major because I want to create technology to help people, just as it helped me.

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During his time at Nebraska, Santiago has been able to find support within his academic community.

Building relationships with the staff and faculty in the School of Computing is really important to me. I had a unique experience my freshman year due to COVID-19. Many of my classes were online. I wanted to make sure I was still seen by my professors, so I asked questions and started building connections. They were all very welcoming.

I work in the advisor’s office; I’ve gotten pretty close with everyone there. They recommend new opportunities for me to pursue, and I'm able to go to them if I have any sort of questions. I’ve been working with them to hash out a clear focus area within computing.

I’ve been able to meet a lot of new friends as a STEM CONNECT scholar. It’s a great community of people and mentors willing to offer help. I’m able to reach out if I’m ever in a pickle. I also worked with Iron N, a committee that represents Husker student sections at sports games. I love going to volleyball games to relax and let go of any academic worries.

Santiago’s experiences on campus have pushed him to stretch his strengths while growing both professionally and personally.
Santiago holding drone and ball

I participated in research at the NIMBUS (Nebraska Intelligent MoBile Unmanned Systems) Lab on campus. At first, I didn’t know if I was a good fit for the opportunity because I didn’t have much coding experience. I eventually got past my imposter syndrome and really opened up. I collaborated with doctors, professors and graduate students to work on projects that had a big impact. I was able to get a commercial license to fly a drone!

As a Deans Leader for the School of Computing, I welcome new students to campus, guide tours and share information about our programs. I enjoy helping students because I’ve been in their shoes; I can share my experiences and my love for Nebraska. I’m looking forward to being an Orientation Leader for New Student Enrollment over the summer. I’m excited to make new connections, work with a team and keep improving my interpersonal skills.

I’ve really come out of my shell. I’ve developed strengths that I know professionals in my industry are looking for, like teamwork, leadership and communication. In the workplace, I know that I’ll be ready to reach out, participate and get involved. I would like to lead a team and help them achieve a collective goal, like improving society through technology.

I still have imposter syndrome at times, but I now have a community to help remind me I can do it. It’s good to know we’re all in this together and I’m not alone.

“I still have imposter syndrome at times, but I now have a community to help remind me I can do it.”

— Santiago Giraldo

As he reflects on his time at Nebraska, Santiago’s advice to students is to take advantage of every opportunity.

You won’t regret chasing any opportunities you find at Nebraska. You’re able to make so many connections; you can meet lifelong friends here. Every time I walk across campus, it’s likely that I’ll recognize at least one or two people, especially when I’m giving a tour.

Nebraska’s programs can prepare you for a great job. I know some graduates who have gone to work for Tesla in Texas and Apple in Cupertino. Don't be afraid to get out of your shell and get involved. It can be a little intimidating to come to Nebraska, especially if you’re from out-of-state or a small town. There are a ton of resources here and people who will make you feel at home.