Walter Menendez

Walter Menendez photo

Walter Menendez ’15

Computer Science and Engineering

It's funny that people think I'm from California because they're technically right—I was born in Los Angeles, CA but only spent two months there after birth. For the rest of my pre-MIT life, I was raised in suburban Maryland, in the city of Gaithersburg. Growing up was interesting—my mom was a single parent who spoke enough English to tell people she was a housekeeper. Meanwhile, I had to learn Spanish at home, otherwise I physically wouldn't have been able to talk to my mom. Since my mom worked all day and night, other family members constantly babysat me, so the aphorism "it takes a village to raise a child" definitely applies to me.

When I got to MIT, I felt immensely humble to be here and for most of my freshman year I struggled to accept the reality and prove to myself that I belonged here. But, as my mother taught me very early on, opportunities don't fall out of the sky; I needed to be the one to actively pursue new connections, new outlets, new people. Being first gen has taught me to be very proactive and insistent, otherwise nothing gets done.

I'm majoring in Course 6-3: Computer Science and Engineering. During my time at MIT, I've worked in the Media Lab in a number of different groups, and I'm fascinated by the very prototypical technologies that come out of this lab. The Media Lab makes me love software and very excited to see what we can do with it.

When I'm not coding, I'm a part of student government at MIT (go DormCon!) and am the editor in chief of Technique, the photography club on campus. I also try to work out so there's that.