Get to Know: Kirsten Fuchs

Name: Kirsten Fuchs

Year: Class of ‘17

Major: Computer Science

Pursuing: Computer Security

Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona

Kirsten is interested in everything about the sciences, with two parents involved deeply within the sciences it was hard for her not to get interested in the field of technology. Kirsten sees herself going into the field of computer security, mostly interested in how one leaves trapdoors in programs and how one gets past them, from assembly code to higher level programming.

She calls herself a "nerd’s spawn", daughter of two chemical engineering parents and coming from a family who are ⅓ doctors, ⅓ engineers, and ⅓ artists. Her sister was in computer programming as well as film and she also had an interest in chemical engineering, this all deeply influenced Kirsten.

Born and raised in the true Arizona heat, Kirsten never moved from home but did do her bit of traveling. She has been across the United States, spending time in Rhode Island, Nashville, Minnesota, Idaho and has done some of this traveling with her grandparents. She also traveled to Germany with the CLU Choir and went to Italy in her Junior year. She has been to New Zealand and Norway as well. The one thing that she is looking forward to is going to Korea-- she is in love with the culture.

(Image Courtesy of Kirsten Fuchs)

“I am on such a Korea kick right now. I am a sucker for classic dramas and boy bands. It started off with kdramas and then went to kpop. I have also never seen a shirt with Korean on it, only English, which considering the anti-American sentiment is strange. I love being a sociology and history nerd, so the fact that they are pulling in so much western culture is interesting. Coming from the civil war, having almost everyone in the country turn into a refugee, to being 11th economically in the world, is such a wacky sociology, I would just love to study that.”

Having been at CLU for four years, she was able to make quite the best of her time in California. As she spoke about CLU she told me more about the reasons why she decided to go out of state for college, she had cousins nearby and L.A. won her over. It also didn’t hurt that CLU is famous for being a private school that offers good scholarships.

Her first few years were something to get used to, living away from home, on her own, and adjusting to the new cafeteria food was hard. Kirsten was, however, able to get an amazing experience with her roommate especially because they were both shy to begin with, but with time they became close. “Mandy and I were both introverts, but we could recharge with the other person in the room. We didn’t disturb each other in that way, so that was fantastic.”

Her Campus Cal Lutheran: Favorite movie?

Kirsten Fuchs: It’s in between the Princess Brides movies and Stardust.

HCCLU: Favorite games?

KF: Pinochle, Dominion, and Kingdom Hearts.

HCCLU: Three main hobbies?

KF: Singing, nerding out (especially with Professor Reinhart who is head of the Computer Science department), studying Korean, and researching hacking.

HCCLU: Favorite spot on campus?

KF: Gumby Tree, the one southeast near the library. It’s a really good one for climbing.

She is currently working on her capstone with Professor Reinhart and learning about implementing Cryptography. Kristen is looking forward to working with all the ways one gets past the problems of it all. “I’m more curious about the bit code of the programming, the binary, how to access it, how it works in networks and more. I’m not sure how I’m going to find all said stuff (laughs), but I’m thinking that’s where I want to go.” She is implementing the DES algorithm and comparing it to the ENIGMA machine from World War II.

“He [Dr. Reinhart] was the first teacher that did processing. I worked in his office with a basic Java based animation language and pretty much we were making very very pretty pictures. You know, it was me bouncing off the walls going ‘this is so cool!’ and Dr. Reinhart joined in to support me in my career.”

She is also learning Korean and is very interested in how women work in STEM. She looks up to the computer science field getting a lot better in including females, women being in the mathematical and engineering fields. She sees the change in her computer science classes, where more girls are enrolling. Her idol is Ada Lovelace, who is famous for working on the early mechanical general-purpose computer and she is also aware that the first ‘super-heroes’ were introduced by baroness Emma Orczy with 'The Scarlet Pimpernel’.

Kirsten also enjoys being a part of the CLU Women’s Chorale and has been a huge fan of music since she was young. She has been exposed to both the sciences and the arts from all the artists and the scientists in her family. She had been part of the church handbells, the band for a wooping eight years, and she also had private piano and french horn lessons.

(Image Courtesy of The Echo)

She can also count herself as a part of the Acapella Club for four years. Not to mention she was also academically driven for the maths, not only the tech, sciences of music. She also mentioned she would be interested in joining the Robotics Club that is in the making.

Kirsten not only has to think about the inequality in the field of science, concerning gender, but she is also thinking about how people with Bipolar disorder are treated in the work field. I asked her if she had one thing she would like to let people who are struggling with this and have to deal with the judgement know, she said:

“Pay attention and notice things. Actually consciously think about it, you can choose where to push the boundaries, but do it in the right way. I like to surprise people and do it in a weird way that still gets a positive reaction. It helps being creative and finding ways to let yourself out without getting too emotional in the workplace. Everyone needs therapy, you will run into emotional things in your life and you have to learn to deal with those emotions. You have to press pause and learn to think about it logically to avoid spurts of anger and irritation.”