What inspired you to get involved with JPL and the Mars 2020 Mission?
I’ve always thought JPL was very cool. I’m from Pasadena, where JPL is located, and several of my high school Girls Who Code mentors work at JPL. I also did some galaxy identification work at Caltech in high school and really enjoyed the experience. I was lucky enough to intern at JPL last summer and work on the Mars 2020 rover, which is incredibly surreal since the rover was being built right at JPL.
Who was your role model and/or inspiration?
I’m lucky to have had several throughout my life. But, a big one would be my parents. They come here from China and built their life from nothing. They’ve allowed me to have all the opportunities I had growing up and I’m so thankful for them and how hard they worked and all they’ve sacrificed to build this life.
What does your future look like? What do you plan to do?
I’d ultimately like to use technology to help people. Microsoft has this huge giving back mission and it’s really cool to see how much we can do with computer science to help our communities.
What motivates you?
My parents and also seeing my friends take part in so many good initiatives on campus and in our community. Also knowing that I can do things beyond what my industry has to offer and knowing that I can make a change if I use the resources I have to give back to the community.
What do you do in your free time?
I love hiking. I’ve been going through some of the popular hikes in the Bay Area, and discovered some hidden gems as well. Aside from exploring nature and restaurants in NorCal, I also spend time at the local women’s shelter in Palo Alto.
What is the best piece of advice have you received that has helped you be successful?
You have to go and talk to people or reach out to them and take the time to do what you want to get done.
What is your favorite tv show or movie at the moment?
The Office for sure. I’m big on Pixar movies and my all time favorite is UP.
How has your life and daily routines changed as a result of COVID-19?
It is definitely different. Work is remote, but Microsoft has put in a lot of effort to make the experience fun. I am able to spend more time with my family and go on walks with them. I also teach coding to kids through Juni Learning Company, so i Zoom with them and teach the same group of kids once a week.
If you could go back in time, is there, if at all, anything you’d do differently?
I would tell myself to take more risks and pursue the things I love!
If you could know the absolute truth to one question, what would you ask?
Do dogs have soulmates?
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
SUPERBLOOM by MisterWives
In your opinion, who do you think is the most impressive person in the world right now, and why?
I really appreciate the small things in life people do for each other, like buying a meal for the person behind you in a drive-thru or paying for a stranger’s college tuition. Humans of New York are posting cute stories about their COVID experiences, and I really appreciate those and being able to see the good in humanity despite the hard times.
What advice do you have for fellow or younger students?
Definitely just go after what you’re passionate about. I think it’s so important to do what you love, and to not only commit to something because of social pressure or because you think you should do it. There’s so much that you can do in spaces that you feel strongly about, and I’d really encourage younger people to see how they can direct their passions into something that’s meaningful to them and to the community as a whole.