“MathWorks is my home, the place where I am building my adult identity and surrounding myself with people who understand and support me.” noted Devin Depina. Currently starting his junior year at University of Massachusetts/Boston, Devin noted that his college journey has been complicated due to Covid. Originally a computer science major at Salem State, he loved living on campus and being fully engaged in college life. “It was so helpful to me to live somewhere where everyone was in the same boat, having to pay attention to their classwork, focused on future goals.” he stated. But when Covid struck and learning became remote, Devin was unable to justify the cost of paying tuition at Salem State. Ultimately, he made the decision to transfer to UMASS/Boston, where his costs are lower because he can stay in the family home.
But that decision has its own consequences. Devin noted that “It has been rough. I live with my parents, grandparents, and twin brother. None of them have any context for what I am trying to achieve with my life – the future a college degree will provide. They only see that my earning power is diminished because of school, and in fact, I sometimes need to ask for financial help.” He continues, “It takes a certain amount of perseverance to work through all the emotions and logistics.” Devin noted that it has been difficult to live at home, study, work, and stay focused, but that the challenges presented by Covid strengthened his resolve to complete his degree.
That is where MathWorks plays a key role. When Devin attended Cristo Rey Boston, he admitted he initially could not see the big picture. Placements at TJX, Norfolk and Dedham and Boston Harbor Hotel began to build his confidence. A classmate who worked at MathWorks suggested he try working there, knowing he loved computers. After the Corporate Work Study office helped him switch to a placement at MathWorks for his senior year of high school, it all started to fall into place.
“My senior year placement at MathWorks was incredibly impactful. I loved working there, and really saw my future clearly for the first time. I saw older co-workers doing work that looked cool, and I was welcomed with open arms and a recognition of my talents and effort.” Devin recalled. Always that kid who could figure out what was wrong with the TV, the internet, the computer, Devin noted, “I am grateful I worked at MathWorks through the CWSP (Corporate Work Study Program) and for the people got to see me for who I am and took the chance on me. I learned a lot of stuff on the job and on my own through research.”
While majoring in Computer Science at UMASS, Devin is excited about his future and grateful to MathWorks for providing a place where he can advance his career over the summers. He noted, “I work in the Systems Services Group, collaborating with teams to help customers solve technical issues. It is incredibly detailed work and consistency is the key. I have the benefit of working with a lot of great people who keep me inspired and motivated."
Devin is emotional when he speaks about the value of his summer internships at MathWorks. He notes that with limited English and education, his family struggles to make ends meet. They have no context for the education he is receiving or the career experience he is gaining. “At MathWorks,” he notes, “I am surrounded by people who validate my choices, and continually encourage me to view the big picture. My dreams and ambitions are nurtured there. I am continually reassured that the sacrifices I am making today will pay off for the future of my entire family.”
Pausing for a moment, Devin continues, “The neighborhood I lived in when I attended CRB was dangerous, full of random violence and lacking in hope. We have been able to move to a slightly better neighborhood, but I still worry."
“At night, when I am getting ready to leave my office at MathWorks, I always hesitate. MathWorks is a place where I never worry about my physical safety, unlike the neighborhood where I live with my family. Someday, when I accomplish everything, I plan to achieve, I will move my family out of the hood. Then and only then, will I consider myself a success.”