As the Class of 2022 prepares for Commencement, May 6–7, The College Today will highlight how some of our graduating seniors spent their time at CofC, and what the future holds.

Graduation is a time of letting go and new beginnings, and that’s particularly true for Tyler Collins.

Basketball has been a constant in her life since she was five. In high school at Woodward Academy in Atlanta, she helped lead the team to the postseason all three years she played, finishing with 1,293 points.

As a starting point guard at the College of Charleston, she earned third-team all-conference honors in the 2020–21 season and passed the 1,000-career points milestone on March 3, 2022. But her seven points in a loss to Drexel in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament semifinals on March 12, 2022, were the last ones she’ll ever score in her competitive career.

“Making it to the final four was a real highlight, but I would say my basketball days are truly over,” she says. “I’ll help my cousin develop and support her since she is a freshman in high school, but, yes, I am done playing.”

Now the only numbers she’ll be concerned with are ones and zeroes. Collins, who majored in computer science, is set to become a software development engineer at Macy’s Technology in Atlanta in August. She’ll also be breaking down stereotypes as one of the few – but growing number – of women of color who code.

“I am looking forward to learning and growing in my profession,” she says. “Also, I’m looking forward to being back home with family, and just excited for my journey in adulthood.”

She feels like her experience at CofC has prepped her well for that journey.

“My experience at the College was filled with many highs and lows,” she says. “I’ve learned a lot about myself along the way. The journey wasn’t always easy, but I wouldn’t trade coming here for the world.”

The full scholarship she received to play basketball was a big part of why she chose CofC, but so was the welcoming environment when she first visited the school, as was its location.

“The weather is always nice, and the school is located downtown with many restaurants and shopping centers,” she says. “I love that the school is near a lot of beaches, as well.”

Collins is a big gamer, so majoring in computer science was an easy choice, but then came her first big exam.

“Failing my first test in computer science motivated me to push past my comfort zone and realize I can do it,” she says. “Computer science has been challenging, but I enjoyed the process. I had to overcome thinking that I would not be able to complete my computer science degree.”

And Collins is not unfamiliar with overcoming tough opponents, especially with a good team backing her up. With the College’s help, she was able to move past her early stumbles and get her degree.

“I am very grateful to have such caring professors and advisors that understand my rigorous schedule,” says Collins, who belonged to the Cybersecurity Club and Women in Computing. “Being in those organizations really helped me build a lot of connections and showed me how rare it is to see women in my field. It truly motivates me to be more proficient in my skills and continue to learn from the many people I connect with.

“Looking back,” she adds, “that was probably the best part of my time here – making lifelong friendships.”