New Student on the Path to Discovery

Jacqueline Ali

About 10 years ago, Jacque­line Ali was playing an adven­ture game for PlaySta­tion 2 called Sly Cooper And The Thievius Rac­coonus when she unlocked a secret behind-​​the-​​scenes movie about the game. The expe­ri­ence offered her a glimpse into how video games are cre­ated and served as inspi­ra­tion in shaping her interest in com­puter science.

Ali recently grad­u­ated from Clear Brook High School in Friendswood, Texas, and will enroll at North­eastern in the fall. She’s excited to embrace the university’s com­puter sci­ence pro­gram and explore the field’s myriad career tracks, from secu­rity to web development.

Though she’s inter­ested in game devel­op­ment, Ali offered a thought-​​provoking com­par­ison to explain why she’s open to exploring other fields. “I like to say it’s like the dif­fer­ence between an artist cre­ating paint­ings with a brush and the person who cre­ates new tools,” she said. “The con­cept of exploring areas where the way for­ward isn’t always clear appealed to me more.”

Ali cites the university’s sig­na­ture co-​​op pro­gram as one of the top rea­sons she picked Northeastern.

“The thing I liked most about North­eastern is that it’s really inno­v­a­tive. It does things in a way that some other col­lege I looked at don’t,” she said. “Co-​​op gives you real-​​world expe­ri­ence that backs up what you’re learning in the classroom.”

Ali was born in Puerto Rico and lived in New Mexico and Louisiana before set­tling in Texas when she was in fourth grade. She excelled as a high school stu­dent, par­tic­i­pating in Aca­d­emic Decathlon and Ocathlon events and taking AP courses in physics, macro­eco­nomics, and Eng­lish lit­er­a­ture and composition.

In the summer of 2012, she was accepted into the Carnegie Mellon National High School Game Academy, a six-​​week pro­gram in which high school stu­dents explore the video game industry through a blend of hands-​​on exer­cises and class­room instruction.

In Boston, Ali expects to par­tic­i­pate in hackathons with her peers. She’s also inter­ested in pur­suing global expe­ri­ences at North­eastern. In fact, the Dia­logue of Civ­i­liza­tions pro­gram has already caught her eye.

“As time passes, the world gets more con­nected and cul­tures get more con­nected,” she said. “I want to know how to interact with other people and cul­tures and adapt to places that I’m unfa­miliar with.”