The Undergraduate: Nicholas Cobb
Junior in computer science and winner of The Root’s Young Futurist Award and Nickelodeon’s HALO Effect. Interviewed by Steve Franklin.
At age 12, you started Comfort and Joy, a nonprofit that helps the needy. What’s happened with that since then and since you came to UT?
We started out providing coats to the homeless and have had feeding programs, done home rehabs and offered scholarships. Now we are going national. We have our first national chapter starting in New York City this fall, to be followed by a chapter in Atlanta. The idea is for other kids all over the country to be able to give back, like I did.
What do you see yourself doing in the future?
I do plan to continue Comfort and Joy. Also, I interned at Google last summer and was offered the software engineering internship to come again next summer. I’m interested in game development because I find it to be a good creative medium. You hear all these negative things about video games, but really there are positives, too. Games increase reaction time and can help with problem solving, reasoning, rationality. These are all things that we’ll need in the future to solve the world’s greatest problems. Games got me interested in STEM, and I figure they can get other children interested in STEM, too.
How does your work in the community tie in with your studies?
Technology is an important part of the organization. I have to keep a website running, and I plan to provide other kids with technological advice as they run their own sections of Comfort and Joy.
Where else have your interests taken you?
UT is awesome. I am a second-generation Longhorn: my father, Reginald Cobb, got his MBA at McCombs in 1994. I am having the time of my life. I am an ambassador for the College of Natural Sciences and on the Council for Diversity Engagement. I also got to go the Tapia Conference in Boston, which brings together computer scientists: undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, researchers, etc. You can meet people from the industry, get advice and get your name out there. I was one of only a few freshmen to get to go.
See more from Nicholas and other student ambassadors for the College.