December 20, 2022

FMU grad Ja’Nya Breeden looks forward to discovering where her degree will take her next

FMU grad Ja’Nya Breeden looks forward to discovering where her degree will take her next

Ja’Nya Breeden knew early on that she wanted to use computers to take her where she wanted to go. Her passion for computer science began as a practical choice for her career. 


“I did some web design in high school because I was interested in art,” she said. “Web design helped me bridge the gap between computer science and art. I chose computer science because I thought it would be more practical and offer more job opportunities.”


That decision led her to Francis Marion University, where she became a double major in computer science and mathematics. Breeden credits much of her educational and professional development to math faculty Dr. Daniel Brauss and Dr. Minerva Brauss, as well as computer science professor Dr. Padmaja Rao.


“Ja’Nya joined our program with a solid motivation and strong curiosity to study the field of computer science,” Dr. Rao said. “She took advantage of every opportunity available that supported her personal and professional growth. This has led to a very successful undergraduate career and opened doors to opportunities for graduate study.”


Breeden conducted research with the Brausses to simulate fluid dynamics using mathematics and numerical analysis. That research project motivated her to pursue more research opportunities. She received an internship with The California Institute of Technology over the summer of 2022. During this time, she lived in Pasadena, CA, working alongside a research team to discover new materials to be used for renewable fuels for cars and aerospace vehicles.


The CalTech internship gave Breeden clarity for her next step. “The experience I had at CalTech helped me decide that I wanted to pursue graduate school.”


Breeden walked across the stage in the University Center gym on FMU’s campus Friday evening to receive her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Mathematics, an achievement, she says, is a paramount step on her journey to a career in machine learning or artificial intelligence.


This spring, she will head back to California where she will work for Lawrence Livermore Labs on a research project similar to the one at CalTech, aimed at fighting climate change. 


In the fall, she plans to begin graduate school. She is currently applying to MIT, the University of Southern California, UC-Berkley, Duke and CalTech. 


As she moves on from Francis Marion, she reflects on the important foundation that was built during her time here. “I am happy to move forward, but I will definitely miss everyone that I’ve met and has richly impacted my life.”