Gregory Foster '17

At 6’4” with a sculpted physique, boyish smile, and refreshing lack of pretense, Gregory Foster is bucking the stereotypes associated with CS. A stylish guy, he wears his amber locks perfectly coiffed, his clothes color-coordinated, and his confidence with a touch of self-awareness.

“The first thing you think when you see Greg is, ‘this kid must be a final club guy,’” said blockmate Juliana Garcia-Mejia ’17. “And then you meet him and he’s so unlike that…he’s just a very genuine guy.” He also possesses a rare balance of ambition tempered with kindness. “He’s so ambitious…but he also cares so much about the people around him,” continued Juliana. “It’s a selfless ambition, and selflessness and ambition in the same person is a rare quality to have.”

Gregory shapes his life around self-improvement. “Living with him is funny because he picks a thing to improve upon, and then he just does it,” said close friend and summer roommate Tomas Reimers ’17. A voracious reader and learner, Gregory is never standing still. He prioritizes friendship over everything (even his grades), regularly hosts dinner parties to be around those he cares about, and is always asking himself, “How can I be a better person?”  

One example of his commitment towards self-improvement is weight-lifting. A competitive weight-lifter in high school, Gregory hits the weights every morning at 6:30 AM, before the sun even rises from its nighttime slumber. “It’s the most therapeutic thing I can do to keep me sane in a busy environment,” he said of his daily routine, characteristically modest about the drive with which he lives every aspect of his life.

Another one of his passions is computer science. As a 16-year-old looking for a job, he wanted a more creative way of earning gas money than bagging groceries at the local supermarket—so he sat down for a summer and taught himself how to code. Since then he’s developed and sold thousands of copies of his iPhone apps, taken a multitude of computer science classes, and increased his involvement in the CS community on campus.

One thing led to another, and eventually Gregory found himself in Silicon Valley with a highly marketable set of skills. This past summer he interned as a data engineer at Airbnb, where, according to Reimers, “He was the only person in the entire company to wear a suit, including the CEO.”

In terms of personal identity, Gregory is very adamant about fighting negative stereotypes in tech. “There’s weird stigmas associated with every major, and with CS there’s a stigma about how often you shower,” joked Gregory. Well-dressed, extraverted, humble, and kind, Gregory is certainly an anomaly among stereotypically gifted programmers.

Relationships-wise, the current bachelor is looking for someone who can challenge his way of thinking, telling Her Campus that what he’s most attracted to in another person is “sass.” According to Reimers, he’s also a romantic at heart—one who “used to take a red rose on every date.” Whereas Harvard students have an overwhelming tendency to prioritize personal success over relationships, Gregory told Her Campus that he will always make time for the people that matter most in his life.

In the future, Gregory plans to work as an entrepreneur. “I would love to see myself working with friends and running a company,” he said. Motivated enough to know what he wants, he sees his life in terms of how close he is to his ideal self: “I’m very satisfied with who I am at the moment—but it’s a moving target.”