While in high school Yenny Dominguez obtained a CNA license. For her, it was the logical first step since she knew she wanted to be a doctor. There was only one problem. The compatibility test she took yielded less than favorable results for someone working in the medical field. However, it helped unearth her true passion.
“I took the test to see how well I make connections with patients. I scored very low,” said Dominguez. “I guess sympathy and empathy are areas I lack in. I felt like a terrible person, but if it wasn’t for that exam I wouldn’t have found computer science, which is something I actually love to do.”
Not only does Dominguez love computer science, she is exceptionally good at it. The senior, Los Angeles native was part of the first group of students to participate in North Carolina A&T State University’s undergraduate research program. Initially scheduled to only participate during the summer, through her expertise, and even publishing a paper, she was able to continue her cyber identity research throughout the whole year.
Delving into the world of Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI), Dominguez worked on the theoretical use of sites such as Twitter and Facebook to make computerized identity connections. Her study has extreme, real-world application and implications for the purposes of authenticating the validity of a subject.
“It’s like digital forensics and biometrics. If there’s a finger print on file and a mugshot on file with the same name the task is being able to determine if it’s the same person and if it’s fraudulent or authentic in order to make a super identity,” she said. “It’s more useful in certain departments than others.”
When it comes to her research, she says innovation and hard work is the name of the game. There is no precedence. She’s simultaneously learning and trailblazing in a field that rigorously shifts and advances nearly every day.
“In theoretical work and research you can’t really see [the code] because it hasn’t been done before. You’re the one making it up and it can be challenging at times,” said Dominguez.
Although she remains interested in research, the practical, hands-on experience she gained while interning at Credit Suisse – a Swiss multinational financial services holding company – wet her appetite for actually seeing the awesome work she does in a live environment. The graphical user interface she designed and saw implemented for the company (among other projects) was not only exciting, but further intensified her passion for the “power of code.”
With that passion in tow, Dominguez is very much a leader in her field and among her professional peers. As co-founder of the A&T Apple Club, she goes beyond the required curriculum and instruction simply for the sake of advanced and extended knowledge.
“At A&T we usually learn more Android type language and apps, so some of the students just decided to get together and learn Swift, which is an Apple language,” she said. “In order to learn the language, you have to use it, so we are currently building an app.”
Considered a “double minority,” Dominguez is committed to advancing in computer science and developing support systems for her counterparts. The ratio of men to women in her field is significant to say the least, but as the treasurer for the university’s local chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and president of the Association for Computing Machinery Women, she is setting a profound precedence by leading the way, leveling the playing field and advocating for those who will certainly follow in her footsteps.