Daffney Myers '23
Class of '23
Software Engineer with the Department of Defense
During my time at Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus, I was a full-time student. Through the Tech Talent Pipeline Partnership Program, I was able to use my undergraduate courses from the University of Mary Washington toward my Master of Engineering in computer science. Because of this program, I completed my graduate degree in one year.
I was also honored to be one of 10 Boeing Scholars in my class. Receiving this scholarship gave me the financial security to finish school. It also validated that I was worth my degrees and in a way validated myself.
In my free time, I like to travel, play games with my family, crochet/knit/quilt for donations, and hang out with friends.
What faculty/professor had the most impact on you and how?
Jamie Sikora’s Introduction to Quantum Computing class was not necessary for my degree, but I took it out of pure curiosity. Although I struggled heavily in that class, Assistant Professor Sikora was always there to help me. I may not have been the best student, but he was the best teacher for me. He saw the effort I put into the class and easily matched it by assisting me whenever I needed it.
What advice would you share with your college self?
You belong. You have worked hard to get where you are and did not get your position through luck. You deserve to be at the table along with everyone, not only to listen and learn, but also to contribute.
How did the courses at the Innovation Campus help prepare you for your current role?
In my classes, I had to use all of my knowledge to find unique solutions and consider different aspects of the problem. Professionally, I am tasked with solving complex issues that call on different aspects of my learning.
My fondest memory from my time at the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus is...
The Halloween costume party where there was a pumpkin carving contest. It was fun to just hang out with everyone and relax for a little while.
Being a Virginia Tech alumna means...
Having generations of help and guidance, which you can contribute to as well no matter what point you are in life.
How did you position yourself in the job market coming from a newer degree program?
In my interviews, I focused on how the program emphasized the ability to produce results by creating more tangible results — a differentiator from most research. The program simulated an actual working environment in that the students had a greater spectrum of educational backgrounds. Although everyone had different undergraduate degrees, they were still able to apply their studies to the current classes. For example, we had business and medical undergrads mixed with other computer science majors working on the same projects.
What was a project that you worked on that had an impact on you or others?
My group's capstone project used classical and experimental machine learning algorithms to predict outcomes in professional basketball games in order to potentially increase daily betting odds. We wanted an automated framework that could play with different feature sets, machine learning algorithms, and betting styles. Ultimately, we created a system that ranged from safe betting with small gains all the way to riskier bets that yielded high returns.
This capstone project taught me a lot about what working on projects in the professional world would be like. For example, my team and I struggled initially but quickly came together to produce a viable project with results.
B.S., Cybersecurity, University of Mary Washington, 2021
MEng, Computer Science, Virginia Tech, 2023