Raymond Mcdaniels

Engineering Futures Scholar

Raymond Mcdaniels, a rising junior studying computer science with a focus on cybersecurity, has plans to be the first in his family to graduate from college. 

“College has always felt like something that I needed to do and would be beneficial for me, and my family was really supportive of it,” McDaniels said.

As a kid, Mcdaniels loved to tinker with computers and build them for his friends. “It’s kind of like legos,” he said. “But way more challenging.” He turned this hobby into a lifelong career as he chose to attend the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering.

Mcdaniels was born in Buckeye, Arizona, and wanted to stay in-state for college. He, along with most incoming college students, found the process of picking a university overwhelming. 

“When deciding where to go to college, I found that ASU was organized and had a more thought out major plan for engineers. ASU made it feel really simple,” he said. Even as a current student, Mcdaniels has found the school to be extremely accommodating while he pursues his certificate in cybersecurity. 

Naturally, though, he faced other challenges that college brings to young students. 

“When I was a freshman, I didn’t really think I could do anything because I didn’t have technical skills,” he said. “Collaborating with others in Fulton has really built my confidence and inspired me to take skills classes.” 

Mcdaniels also explained his struggles with student-teacher relationships. Class sizes are much bigger, so it can be difficult to get to know a professor. Mcdaniels began emailing professors more, going to office hours and study sessions, and attending the research labs. These techniques have helped him become acquainted with professors and get involved with programs such as Engineering Futures and Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS). 

Most importantly, Mcdaniels’s stressed that incoming freshmen must join clubs and programs in areas that interest you to be successful. You may be surprised at the connections you find. 

“Just get involved early and stay focused on what you want to do. Don’t waste any time and have fun!” he said.

By Danya Gainor, Science and Technology Writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
July 3, 2020