Unlike most students from outside of Texas, one thing that attracted Analee Maharaj '25 to Austin was the heat. From the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, Maharaj decided to pursue her education at St. Edward’s not just because the warm weather would remind her of home, but because she knew she would have the opportunity to follow her dreams in the hustle and bustle of city life, even if it meant moving far from home.
“I’ve always been passionate about technology — I was one of those kids who would ask for a coding kit for Christmas,” Maharaj says. “I knew that Austin would have an abundance of technology opportunities. My decision to major in Computer Science aligned perfectly with the city.”
Maharaj began her college journey eager to immerse herself in new experiences and broaden her perspective outside of the laid-back island culture she grew up in. While she immediately got involved in a wide variety of activities her first year on campus — for example, campus tour guide and Chief Finance Officer with the Student Government Association — she quickly found her niche in experiential learning opportunities.
“I had so many great professors, and because of them, I got connected to opportunities both within and outside of my major,” Maharaj says. “One of them invited me to be a part of NASA Pandora Project research, where I’ve developed my skills in coding and Python. It was really amazing because I was only a freshman!”
Maharaj also took on the roles of Web Developer for the International Student Association, where she made connections with other international students from across the world, and Digital Information Associate for the Office of Information Technology.
“I’m working with some really great professionals who are supportive of my entire Computer Science journey,” Maharaj says. “They’re even providing me with the opportunity to expand my skill set by exploring software and the audiovisual aspects of IT. That’s what I really wanted: experience in the field.”
Maharaj has even had the opportunity to explore a field she hadn’t imagined she would be a part of: Business. A fellow international student suggested that she enter iChallenge on the Hilltop, a business plan competition hosted by The Bill Munday School of Business. She was the only female and only non-Business major who participated, and placed second with her pitch of a mobile app called Pose Worthy that would provide Gen Z users with pose suggestions for social media photos.
Her success caught the attention of another of her professors, who recommended that she join the Product Prodigy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, an entrepreneurship program she attends twice a week to learn from leading professionals how to develop and launch new business ventures. She plans to pursue a career in cybersecurity and start her own technology company.
“You can really discover who you are at St. Edward’s,” Maharaj says. “That’s the main reason I love the school: I was able to make such close connections with so many different people that I know will impact me for life.”
Outside of her responsibilities both on and off-campus, Maharaj makes time to show friends Trinidadian food at a local food truck, teach others about cricket: the national sport of her home country, and master the local transportation system to explore all that Austin has to offer. She credits the supportive environment of the university for allowing her to learn, teach, and grow into who she is today.
“At St. Edward’s, I am not just one of many international students on campus: I am Analee Maharaj, and I mean something.”
By Samantha Mendoza