Student Stories: Ayesha Shafiuddin

Ayesha Shafiuddin

Major: Computer and Information Science

Growing up in Saudi Arabia, Ayesha Shafiuddin would often daydream about getting an education, a vision she wasn’t sure was possible.

“Immigrating to the United States taught me that you can’t give up an opportunity to take a risk or keep moving forward,” she said. “Here I was able to get an incredible education at College of DuPage with so many opportunities ahead of me. Taking risks led me to where I am right now, and I’m excited to continue with that momentum.”

Student Life at COD

The first risk Shafiuddin took may sound simple—sitting on an inflatable couch—but it made an impact on her.

“I was walking past the Office of Student Life and a very animated Ana Pliego (a former coordinator of New Student Orientation) was inviting students to come sit on this couch,” she said. “Seems silly, right? Yet it is that exact moment that led me to truly think about my academic journey at COD. I used to carry my head down in shame, thinking to myself, ‘I am just at a community college while my friends are off at cool universities around America.’ This moment broke that thought inside my head and opened a new reality, a much more empowering truth that I would argue has led me down the most incredible journey I could have had at COD. That empowering truth was this: I pave my own path, nobody else does. That momentary interaction with Ana left me with so much determination that I continue to make the most out of all experiences possible.”

Buoyed by this realization, Shafiuddin immersed herself in campus life. For example, another risk she took was running for Student Trustee on the College’s Board of Trustees. After being elected and serving a one-year term, she was elected president of the Student Leadership Council. In both roles, she represented students’ voices and worked to increase student participation on campus.

I love College of DuPage and the vibrant community that we have. We encompass the values of hard work, dedication and passion.

Ayesha Shafiuddin

“I love College of DuPage and the vibrant community that we have. We encompass the values of hard work, dedication and passion. It’s something I’ve never witnessed before and I’m honored I got to serve on behalf of the student body,” she said. “My goal was to minimize student disconnection, whether that’s through our classrooms, different clubs or differing campus engagement activities.”

Embracing her leadership abilities, Shafiuddin is particularly proud of helping to co-found the Computer Science Club, which started with 20 members and grew to more than 500 current students and COD alumni. Their work included partnering with the Computer and Information Science program leadership and initiating a first-ever run Student Hackathon at COD. She also served as both vice president and president of the club.

Other roles included serving as a Community College International Student Mentor, SLC Officer of Civic Engagement (COD Votes) and New Student Orientation Leader.

“Meeting the students, listening to their perspectives and then being able to present it, whether to the Student Leadership Council, the Board of Trustees or through the Computer Science Club, were all crucial to enhancing COD,” she said. “Leadership is all about listening to others and moving forward together to find a solution.”

As a student in the CIS program, Shafiuddin became particularly interested in AI. She studied machine learning and AI in Seoul, South Korea, after being named to the U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, which was administered through the College’s Field and Experiential Learning, Study Abroad and Global Learning office. She also led her fellow students in the Computer Science Club on AI-powered projects.

In earning her Associate in Applied Science degree in Computer and Information Science, Shafiuddin was named one of the College’s outstanding graduate finalists. She also received an Academic Excellence Award in CIS during the College’s annual Celebration of Academic Excellence.

In summer 2024, she is working as a data analysis intern at Argonne National Laboratory and then is transferring to Lewis University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Her career interest is data science and machine Learning in medicinal/environmental research, and she would like to pursue a law degree in the future to assist with writing data integrity/privacy law.

Shafiuddin believes in the College’s ability to shape students both inside and outside the classroom.

“COD students have so much potential, talent and passion and are driven by a deep sense of purpose. It’s easy to come to campus, take your class and go home, but I wanted all students to feel like they are an important part of the community,” she said. “When I arrived at COD, I pushed myself to work harder than ever and go beyond the bounds of my knowledge. COD taught me that anyone can be a lifelong learner, and I certainly plan to keep learning forever as I continue to carry the momentum forward in my American dream.”

Learn more about the Computer and Information Science program at College of DuPage


Ayesha Shafiuddin