Women Who Reign: Angela Kwon

“Knowing what must be done does away with fear.” – Rosa Parks

Happy Wednesday Reigners! Meet dancer + Girls Who Code alum Angela Kwon, a freshman at Berkeley. Read on to see all the fun facts about her, see a video of her fancy feet, and how she says you don’t need to be a celebrity to make a difference. Β 

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Here are a bunch of facts about me! You, the reader, get to decide which one is the most fun!

  • I’m the Artistic Intern for an organization called Dance the Bay, which provides free dance classes to kids through our Youth Program Branch! We also have other branches like Performance Outreach through which we bring dance to the elderly, and Community Workshops, which is working to teach the Berkeley Dance Community dance fundamentals and unique fusion classes!
  • I love to dance, mainly hip-hop dance. I also love to sing and listen to music. My tastes range from korean indie to electronic to gospel!
  • I am extremely blessed to have been a part of Square’s inaugural Girls Who Code (GWC) class in the summer of 2014! This was where I first considered majoring in computer science, met a bubbly and loving community of women, and of course, met Ashton Kutcher! If you are a rising junior or senior, please apply to this amazing program!
  • The following summer, I worked as an Alumna Teaching Assistant for Girls Who Code at Google LA! Needless to say, it was such an amazing and humbling experience. I got to solve some of the most interesting problems, one being how to make material understandable to students with unique learning styles! I was able to help mentor and teach twenty ridiculously talented and intelligent high school females, and we even got to meet the Try Guys! #thepowerofanemail
  • I love food, especially Chipotle. I can’t even begin to tell you how heartbroken I was at the news of the E.Coli outbreak, but fortunately (or unfortunately) that hasn’t stopped me from eating it!
  • I’m a freshman at UC Berkeley (go bears!!!), intending to major in Computer Science. I’m also minoring in CalTeach (Math and Science: K-12)!
  • I have two older sisters, who also went to UC Berkeley. They’re a lot older than me, but are also some of my biggest inspirations.
  • School, and the classroom in particular, is one of my favorite places. This might be a bit weird but I enjoy readings, homework, and admittedly, have even enjoyed studying for finals!
  • I played bass guitar and piano in high school!
  • I will be taking my first programming class since an Intro to Programming Class in junior year during this spring semester! I’m super stoked for my first computer science class, and I might not be prepared for all its challenges, but I definitely am excited!
  • Something about walking in the wind makes me feel like I’m on top of the world. Wooo!
  • Calculus is super cool. This is probably the best fact here.

What # would define your life journey?

I make daily efforts to have a positive attitude, and like the hashtag says, find the good in everything, and I mean everything — bad situations, bad grades, and even bad puns. There’s always something to learn and almost always something to smile about. I have a lot of things I want to accomplish, so there’s simply not enough time to be negative! That’s not to say that I’m never negative, but I definitely do my best to limit the amount of negativity in my life. It’s pretty amazing what a positive attitude can do. πŸ˜€

Favorite website / app:
My super duper guilty pleasure is Youtube. I love watching all types of videos — funny videos, variety shows, vlogs, music videos, dance videos, and informational/inspirational videos. Anyone can create their own kind of content, and anyone can access it. Youtube is also a good study break (in moderation, of course) πŸ™‚

My not as guilty pleasure is Spotify. I recently invested in Spotify Premium (yay for student discounts!). Music is such a large part of my life. It has such an versatile power — it can make me cry, laugh, sing, and dance at any given time! I also love how easily I can bond with others through shared and different music tastes. Music brings everyone together! πŸ™‚

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted (if any):
God is my inspiration. That’s not to say that I don’t have role models around me — I find inspiration from my family, friends, and other mentors. However, having grown up as a pastor’s daughter and having been actively involved in my youth group and church, God has consistently been the one being that inspires me to do better, and to do things with purpose. Through people like my parents and my sisters, God’s shown me the power of forgiveness and community. He’s the reason why I’m here, and the reason I can accomplish things.

Song that makes you want to dance:
Uptown Funk. In fact, here’s a video of me dancing and playing along with my friends in front of my high school! (I’m the one in blue) But honestly, any song that is groovy makes me want to dance!

Technical challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
My largest (kind of) technical challenge has been overcoming feelings of technical incompetence. Before I started my job as an GWC Alumna TA at Google LA, I was really worried about not being able to answer questions because I didn’t want to feel useless. However, when I began working, I realized that although I didn’t know the answer to every question, I was and am capable of thinking things through to eventually come to some sort of solution. Most importantly, I saw that my desire to help my students and solve these problems often times outweighed my lack of technical ability.

To this day, I still struggle with feeling incompetent. It’s a daily struggle — ever heard of imposter syndrome? It’s a real thing. But perseverance, learning from your mistakes, and a strong support system of diverse individuals are all just as real, and definitely more important. Thanks to a bit of determination and a whole lot of encouragement, I was able to overcome any technical and personal challenges that came my way.

Ideal Job:
My ideal job would be one in which I’m constantly surrounded by people who fight to solve interesting problems, such as those which lie in our school system and in classrooms today. It would also be awesome to dance and sing, learn new things, and meet new people. I guess my dream job would be being a talk show host like Ellen meets teaching. πŸ˜€

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
You don’t need to be in a position of fame and fortune to be a powerful woman who truly REIGNS over her life. Everyone reigns in different ways, and the sooner you see the potential of your unique gifts and the particular environment you’ve been placed in, the sooner you can get to reigning your life. You don’t need to wait for a certain age or anything! Most importantly, don’t forget to keep in mind that being able to REIGN your life does not mean you’re perfect. Make mistakes, fall down, walk it off, and start again.

Some of you reading this right now might not even realize that you are REIGNing your life at this very moment. I really hope that everybody out there knows how capable she (or he) is! πŸ™‚


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