Written by Emma Desilva.

Branndon is a 4th year here at Haas who is also double majoring in Computer Science. He is a sprinter for the Cal track and field team and is interested in fintech.

1.) Can you tell us about your background and how has it influenced you being a student in Haas?

I was born in Houston, Texas and after a few years, my family moved to Stavanger, Norway, a southern coastal city, and lived there for 6 years. We then moved to Anchorage, Alaska for 2 ½ years and then moved back to Texas. Haas very much provided me with the environment that I was more so used to in my childhood in Norway. I went to an international private school where I was the only American at the school. It was a very different culture, even within Norway itself, as the general population in the city was from out of the country. I was introduced to the world in a much more open way, where even my best friends at school were from Nigeria and Scotland. These days I really enjoy talking to international students here and connecting with them and sharing my background. Due to moving around a lot, I would not say I am necessarily a deep roots person, so I would definitely consider moving around once I start working. 

2.) Why did you want to be a part of Haas?

Haas presented an environment that provided both a challenge and competition. I know I will have a lot of fun going to the classes everyday because I know it will be a stimulating environment. It’s not the type of competition where people are constantly tearing each other down, it’s more of a co-existing build where people are always on their A game, and it’s nice to be around such ambitious and hardworking people. I really like challenges and anything worth doing is worth doing well to me and so I like the opportunity to better myself here. 

3.) How do you balance Computer Science, Haas, and being a student-athlete?

Computer Science is a different kind of difficulty than Haas, as Haas incorporates more social interaction and group discussion and CS is more individualized work. CS, Haas, and being a student-athlete are challenging in their own ways and balancing the three is very difficult as I have to take so many classes, but I found that the most important thing going through school is stress management and staying happy. If you’re letting the workload continuously compound on you, it will affect the other parts of your life, like for me, track and field. Stay happy and stay motivated and don’t let yourself sink. I started meditating this past summer and practicing mindfulness, which has allowed me to be more present and aware in the moment when actively doing things. 

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