Nina Kouchi

NINA'S JOURNEY

NAME

Nina Kouchi

MAJOR

Computer Science and Technology Studies

HOMETOWN

Charlotte, NC

I was first introduced to Grinnell by the women’s golf coach. Soon, I was invited to visit, and within a few hours of arriving, I knew that this was where I wanted to go. Everyone was so welcoming and wanted to know more about me and my interests. I felt like Grinnell was a place where I could reach out to anyone and have the support for me to be my best. 

Looking back, I can’t believe how well things worked out. I was so excited about Grinnell then and that excitement hasn’t gone anywhere. I can’t imagine being in any other place!

First Year

Overview of city streets
Student in front of st louis arch
Students holding up flag
Student team wearing medals in team photo
2 students with space shuttle behind them

During my first year, I got to explore the prairie region through golf. I have always lived on the East Coast, so it was a fantastic opportunity to not only play competitively but to see a new part of the United States. We have a lot of tournaments in Iowa and Illinois (I crossed the Mississippi River for the first time for one of our first tournaments!). We also get to go to other cool places like St. Louis, Missouri; Jacksonville, Florida; and Houston, Texas. Since my first year, I have also had the opportunity to go to Lansing, Michigan, and soon we’ll be going to Scottsdale, Arizona!

The places I traveled for golf!

Grinnell 3

Second Year

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Mentored Advanced Project

Dog laying on computer
Values math chart

Translating math functions into art, with the help of my dog

After my second year, I did a Mentored Advanced Project (MAP) with my computer science adviser and nine other Grinnell students. It was such a great opportunity to learn how research works in the real world and to try new things. We learned new programming languages and just jumped right in. Even though the pandemic had just started in the U.S. and we were physically separated, everyone did such a great job of staying connected and maintaining a community. We had a movie afternoon every Wednesday where we got to watch and talk about a movie someone from the team chose. The MAP was so much fun. Not only did I learn more about computer science research and get real-world experience, but I also got to learn other soft skills like how to better present and communicate experiments and results.

Third Year

three students laying on the side of the road
Girl sitting on cliff edge

At the start of the pandemic, I went back home to Charlotte, North Carolina. I spent the summer there before going to Eden, Utah for the fall semester. I lived and did online school in a house with 12 other Grinnell students. My friends from Grinnell were from all over the U.S., from California to Kentucky and back to the Midwest. After Utah, I stayed in Albuquerque, NM for part of the spring semester before coming back to Grinnell.

Travel

Cliffside nature pathway
Girl posing on hill slant
Girl next to railing
Picture of mountain
Student on mountain trail

 

 

Because of Grinnell, I had the confidence to explore new places. I spent two summers working in Montana and I drove through 26 states and visited 12 national parks in one year. Grinnell made me more enthusiastic about getting out of my comfort zone and meeting new people!

Natural Beauty

Windmill
Moon
Pathway leading to building between pink trees
Snowman
Snow field with branches at top of photo
Photo of sky during sunset
Bee sitting on flower
Small town area with wells fargo on the left of photo

One of my favorite things about Grinnell is the natural beauty. It was one of the things that drew me to Grinnell. During my first visit, I remember how quiet and peaceful it was outside and how clearly I could see the stars at night. There are so many beautiful things to see, from windmills at Grinnell’s Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA) to flowers blooming around campus in the spring.

Grinnell 7

Reflections and Looking Forward

Hero Image with Text

As I reflect on my time at Grinnell, I think about all the amazing memories I have made here. Since I started, I’ve made so many friends from all over the country and the world. I have won the SLIAC Individual Conference Championship for golf three times and been a Second-Team All-American twice. During my first year, my team went to Houston for the NCAA DIII National Championship, and I’m very excited to go back again my senior year. While my college experience did not quite go as planned because of the pandemic, I was fortunate to have many other wonderful experiences as a result of choosing to go to Grinnell.  

After I graduate, I’ll be going back to North Carolina to work at IBM. I look forward to the future and will always be thankful for the memories I made at Grinnell! 

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