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National Fellowships and Scholar Programs

James Davis

Carolina Scholar

A.C. Flora High School
Columbia, S.C.
Computer Engineering

Career plans: My goal is to work as a software engineer and find a team that is a good fit and working on something I’m passionate about. Long term, I’d like to go into management with a software engineering team, and maybe after doing that for a while I would enjoy working a second “early retirement” career as a high school math or physics teacher.

UofSC story: When I was a freshman, I thought success looked like always being the best or smartest. I wanted to "succeed" in everything I did, to make an A in every class and to be admired by everyone I was around. However, throughout my time in college, I have realized that seeking contentedness is better than seeking admiration and that establishing healthy day-to-day routines means a lot more than dreaming of the perfect future life. Freshman me would have been appalled to hear that I failed a class, was rejected by University Ambassadors, sat on the bench for 2 years on the club ultimate team and led a church small group that went really well for a while but wouldn't be continuing after graduation. However, these are some of the experiences I am most thankful for, and I hope to continue to grow in presence in the moment and contentedness as I continue to face highs and lows in life.

Most impactful experience: The class that really sparked my interest in my major is a robotics class that I took sophomore year. In the class, I had the opportunity to learn python on the fly and use it to program a Roomba to drive in certain ways and avoid obstacles. This was the first time I was able to code something meaningful, and it got me really excited about learning more.

Best part of being a Top Scholar: The community. It is such a blessing to be connected with a bunch of other driven students, who have been quick friends and friendly faces on campus all four years, whether I need to bounce an idea off someone or I’m just looking for a familiar face at the Russell House.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.