I chose UMD for graduate school for its great research in computer vision and its proximity to home.
I chose to study computer science because I'm passionate about it. Ever since I taught myself programming at the age of 14 I knew this was going to be an integral part of my life. That may sound cliche but my friends all roll their eyes when I respond: 'gimme a sec, Derek just threw a runtime exception.' Lastly, although computers sometimes drive me insane, it gives me comfort that I am reasoning about a (mostly) logical system; the computer does exactly what you tell it to do.
I plan to work for the Department of Energy after I graduate.