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Meet Barnard's Hybrid Wynee Pintado: A Computer Science and Politics Student

Updated: Sep 23, 2023

Hispanic Heritage Month

September 2023

By: SemegaChange

Written by: Leila Biola Olukoga

Barnard senior diversifies the STEM and political science fields.

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” For some, the quote by the late Polish chemist Marie Curie serves as a profound motivation to persevere through adversity. For Wynee Pintado, this quote has a deeper significance.

Pintado, a senior at Barnard College, has this quote hung on her dorm wall and uses it as a means of motivation through the everyday obstacles and triumphs of life, college, and the STEM field. As a political science major and mathematical sciences minor, Pintado has been immersed in the STEM world since she was a freshman in college and uses this quote to make a difference.

“During COVID, I was working with my dad at his [mechanics] shop and had a lot of time to think about what I wanted to do in the future with the things I enjoyed,” Pintado said. “My whole life I have been surrounded by engineers and people that are involved in the STEM field. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the sciences during and after college.”

Pintado’s experience in STEM involves the foundational computer science courses at Barnard and Columbia University, having served as a full-stack Web intern for Workday, and an ongoing research project dedicated to making software technologies and concepts more accessible to software engineers and everyday people.

“[This project] is the first research project I'm going to be doing in the computer science field," Pintado said. “It also combines with my political science background, because I'll be able to advocate for [technology and software engineering] the right way by talking to people about how to use differential privacy to protect your data.”

Pintado has also expressed interest in the legal field through a criminal justice internship last summer. Pintado said that she wants to combine her passion for political and mathematical sciences in her future career.

“I felt that it is important to have the artistic part of [STEM] in which you're able to express the science,” Pintado said. "It’s important not to just be involved in STEM, but also to write and advocate about [science] too which my political science major prepares me to do.”

Pintado said that her array of interests in various fields can be attributed to her background as a Latina person from Ecuador.

“I have heard stereotypes about Latina people that we are overly emotional and aggressive, which has led to a constant battle of me trying to figure out how to handle being emotional as a Latina person,” Pintado said. “[However] I take my emotional and passionate side to be an advantage in the work field because it allows me to connect and work better with those around me.”

Despite the staggering amount of Latinx representation in the computer science field, Pintado uses these experiences to her benefit.

“When I enter a computer science room, I don’t see enough of me,” Pintado said. “I have such a different experience and I can talk about different things that aren’t already being discussed in these spaces and make sure [the Latinx community] is being advocated for. Given the privilege I have of being able to go to this school, I should be able to give [the Latinx community] a voice.”

Pintado hopes to continue to use her education in computer science and political science to immerse herself in different programs such as Breakthrough Tech with Cornell University. Pintado said that she hopes for all Latina people in STEM to channel their passions into their work and representation of their communities.

“It’s great seeing Latina people in these spaces that are working hard and making a difference within our communities,” Pintado said. “By being a Latina person in these fields, you’re not just representing yourself but you’re also representing people in your communities. [It’s important to] keep pushing yourself to achieve your dreams.”

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