Sarah Kate Thomas: Computer Science

Senior Sarah Kate Thomas is a computer science and philosophy double major from Dallas, Texas. Not only has Thomas completed an honors thesis for computer science, she completed an honors thesis for philosophy as well. 

Thomas, who initially wanted to be a business major, took a leap of faith when she decided to major in computer science. 

“I had no clue [I wanted to be a computer science major]. I took it as a divisional and thought it would be useful to learn how to code,” Thomas said. “I ended up loving it and after the first month, I knew this was how my brain works, with coding, logic and creativity.”

For more than two years, Thomas has been involved with the creation and execution of bringing a MakerSpace to campus. Wake Forest’s MakerSpace — the WakerSpace — officially opened late last fall. 

Paul Whitener, assistant director of the WakerSpace, said, “From knitting to 3D printing and laser cutting, Sarah Kate is always ready to tackle something new. Her dependability, dedication and enthusiasm for making, learning and helping others is evident everytime she steps into the WakerSpace.”

Moreover, Thomas has worked closely with Professor Erinn Fulp on her honors project, which she successfully defended in late April. 

“Her attitude and willingness to try new things is remarkable; she is fearless in that regard. Not only is she a great student, Sarah Kate has also been a wonderful member of our community,” Fulp said. “She is always willing to help and support others, regardless of the task.”

Moreover, with her philosophy honors thesis, she presented at two undergraduate conferences  — William & Mary and State University in New York — and won best paper at one of them.

Thomas has thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the department, and has cherished her experiences with it, whether it be with the Women in Computer Science Club, WakeHacks (the annual Hackathon on campus), or the Association of Computer Machinery.

“When I was a freshman, there were no Women in Computer Science club, there was no Hackathon and to see the computer science department grow over the last four years and to be a part of it has been very rewarding,” Thomas said.

She is also grateful for the opportunities the department has opened for her. 

“One of the coolest things to happen as a computer science major was going to the Grace Hopper Celebration last September. It is the largest women in tech conference in the world,” Thomas said. “I asked the department if they would help me go and they actually sent two other girls with me. We spent five days in Houston attending lectures and completing interviews.”

 Additionally, Thomas worked at the Estee Lauder Company last summer in New York as an intern in cybersecurity and continued to work part-time senior year, working around 20 hours a week. She will be returning to the company after graduation this May (but not until after she enjoys a three-week trip to Europe). 

Thomas also has a hope of going back to school one day and using both of her degrees. 

“My interest with philosophy has shifted toward privacy and informational privacy,” she said. “In the future, I definitely want to leverage philosophy with computer science.”