Student Story

“Taking up Space” with Coding, Advocacy, and Community

Adriana Lizeth (“Liz”) Campuzano Martinez ’24

“Simmons facilitates an environment in which you can meet and interact with students from different majors and backgrounds.”

An interview with Simmons senior Adriana Lizeth (“Liz”) Campuzano Martinez ’24.

What are the most impactful things you have done over the last four years?

I was Director of SharkHack, — a Simmons student-led hackathon — during my second and third years of college (I’m graduating in three years). This event has been a cornerstone of my Simmons experience. I remember reading about SharkHack when I decided to attend Simmons and it seemed very exciting. I did not know that I would partake in reviving the event after it had been dormant since 2019. I led a team of young tech enthusiasts to run a hackathon focused on empowering underrepresented communities in STEM. Some of our sponsors included Red Bull, Major League Hacking, and so forth.

Another engaging activity was hosting “La Niña del Desierto” (The Little Girl, or Child, of the Desert), Simmons’ first bilingual radio show on Simmons Radio: The Shark.

During my second year of college, I became a Resident Assistant. Throughout my journey, I have helped create an inclusive community, especially for international and LGBTQ+ students, which is necessary while in college.

I proudly serve as President of the Math, Computing, and Statistics Liaison. While we did not have an organization that focused on welcoming international students with intersectional identities, MCS gave me the resources to challenge dominant stereotypes and assumptions regarding STEM majors. Curating vision board nights, LinkedIn and Canva workshops, hackathons, and alumnae/i events, I aimed to create an environment that invited students to be themselves within the industry.

Did your course of study entail any internships or study-abroad opportunities?

I was a Community Ambassador with Kode with Klossy (a free coding camp for girls ages 13–18). In this role, I created content and programmed events to empower young women and gender-expansive youth, enabling them to pursue their passions in a tech-driven world. Now, during my last semester at Simmons, I interned for CLEAN Cause (an organization that supports individuals in recovery) as a Media Analytics and UX Designer. I do things from fixing code and creating web add-ons to analyzing what trends the marketing and media team should adopt.

As an international student from Mexico, I always joke about this being my study abroad experience.

Please explain any research that you pursued at Simmons.

I devised a project for the spring 2024 Passionate Leaders Project (PLP). Entitled “Adria: Empowering Fashion Sustainability through Data and Mobile App Development,” this project tackles fast fashion’s environmental degradation and ethical problems. To address these concerns, I am developing a mobile app called ADRIA, which helps users engage with fashion in a sustainable way.

Tell us about your unique experience as a first-generation college student.

As an international student, even the college application process is distinctly different. Moreover, being the first person in my family to do this increased the challenge. But I also think that people often overlook how hardworking and determined students with these identities are. Being the first of one’s family to attend college can be isolating, but finding a community that celebrates your diverse perspective is especially gratifying.

What was your favorite course at Simmons and why?

“Special Topics in Computer Science.” Professor of Mathematics, Computing, and Statistics Nanette Veilleux truly believes in her students. Researching a global solution to Automatic Speech Recognition connected my interests in communication with tech.

Who was your most inspirational professor or mentor at Simmons and why?

I have to give credit to my professors from the Department of Communications, many of whom became mentors to me, even though I was not a Communications major. During my first year at Simmons, Lecturer Grace Abe and Adjunct Professor Meghan Michaud inspired me to be confident in my design work. I also acknowledge staff members, including Luke Romanak (Assistant Director of Student Media and Academic Technology) and Matoaka Kipp (Director of REEF Support Center), who provide students with advice and support every day.

What is your favorite Simmons memory?

I have fond memories of a spring break trip to Washington, D.C. in 2023. A friend of mine who majored in Political Science invited me to join her and her peers. It was so much fun, and I like that Simmons facilitates an environment in which you can meet and interact with students from different majors and backgrounds.

How has Simmons taught you to be a leader?

At a small school like Simmons, you learn about resources more rapidly and use them more effectively. However, there is also an aspect of independence that I personally enjoy. We have resources and faculty who support our projects, but it is our job to initiate them and carry them to completion, and to create the spaces and things you want to see.

What advice do you have for current and incoming Simmons students?

Take up space. It is easy to minimize your ambitions when there is not a specific place to achieve them, but it is important to speak up and create what we want to see. After all, this is your community for the next 3 or 4 years.