I was very interested in the mathematical aspects of computing, but no one in my friend group was interested in doing it. That felt really lonely. Because of this, I've accumulated a lot of experience that I want to give back to students who are also feeling alone.

Cem Koc, Software Engineer @ Apple

Cem Koc

“What really made me excited about Edith was it offered a way for me to formally connect with people online and offer them help based on my experiences. At Berkeley, I followed a really odd path. In EECS you’re supposed to take a certain combination of classes, but no one really talks about what you can do if you branch out.

I was very interested in the mathematical aspects of computing – what was eventually going to be called machine learning – but no one in my friend group was interested in doing it. There was no real support in the ecosystem at Berkeley either, even though it’s supposed to be one of the best programs in the world. And that felt really lonely. I had my brother, but it was still a very lonely path.

Because I had to go about figuring out how to look for internships, new areas of research, etc. on my own, it’s helped me accumulate a lot of experience that I want to give back to students who are also feeling alone. I hope I can offer some guidance or help them critically examine their own college experience as someone who isn’t in their immediate friend group, because that allows to me to offer an interesting or different point of view.

At the same time, Edith is a positive sum experience for me. Mentoring others helps me take a step back from my problems at work and concentrate on certain areas that I wouldn’t have otherwise. So for me as a mentor, I get to go outside my comfort zone as well as give back.