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As a potential computer scientist, I’ve always been drawn to California. With Silicon Valley and a fast growing economy, tech job opportunities in California are vast. DukeEngage OC was the perfect program for me; not only did I get the pleasure of working with Girls Inc. on their mission to inspire young girls to pursue STEM, but I also got to explore California for the first time.

Over the past eight weeks, I made an effort to determine if California is somewhere I can see myself living after college. I went everywhere from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and even drove ten hours along the California coastline on State Route 1. Essentially, I was doing the real life version of the popular Disney California Adventure ride, Soarin’ Over California. By the end of summer, I saw everything from mountains and beaches to affluent cities and areas of poverty. I was constantly in awe of California and felt like I could easily fit in with the carefree flow of the west coast. While North Carolina holds a special place in my heart, nothing can beat the scenic beaches, endless skies, and vibrant culture of California. The pictures below are only parts of what I got to see during my time here, but I know that this will not be my only visit to California.