Thomaz DeSouza recently realized how pivotal a role Jeaniene Thompson’s Digital Media classes played in shaping his future. Mastering Illustrator and PhotoShop in Career Center courses held at Hickman High School gave Thomaz the edge he needed to be hired as a research/teaching assistant at the University of Missouri Informatics Institute (MUII); there he was a TA, teaching database systems while studying computer science. DeSouza continued to distinguish himself, conducting bioinformatics research and his work in implementing a photo recognition algorithm to phenotype leaves for MUII was published.
Pushed by his mother to apply for an internship at Microsoft, he made the cut and worked as an intern for three months one summer. “After my internship, they gave me a full time job. I became the first student from the University of Missouri to get hired as an undergraduate to one of the big tech companies!” Thomaz says, “It’s pretty amazing to think that my first ‘computer science’ class was taught by Ms. Thompson. The only reason I was given a position as a research assistant was because I was very talented at Illustrator and PhotoShop, and they needed a student to do some photo editing work. Putting together some knowledge that Ms. Thompson had taught me with some other knowledge, I was able to apply such a simple photo algorithm to an advanced biological concept.”
Thomaz is currently a software engineer at Microsoft working on the Windows 8 Microsoft Account team.