“Life shrinks or expands in proportion with one’s courage.” — Anaïs Nin
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I am a rising sophomore at Yale University. Although I was born in Los Angeles, I have spent most of my life in Mexico City (13 beautiful years! :D). I came back to the United States in August, 2012, and I did not know how to speak or write English very well. It was hard to be away from most of my family and to be in a completely new environment, but I managed to learn English and eventually became the first person in my family to attend college.
Tech life: I started coding in 7th grade, but my assignments were so dull that I thought CS was boring. It was not until high school that I became interested in CS again through a program called CyberPatriot, where I learned about cybersecurity and networks. I participated in competitions and loved the thrill of finding out the flaws that lead to a successful attack. It was then where I discovered my passion for computer science.
In college, programming became AWESOME. The homework was challenging and exciting and JKSFKJASDFDS. It just made me happy. Now that I know more about programming and life in general, I am excited to look for an internship for next summer.
Fun fact: I spent my summer in Tokyo learning about Japanese animation and manga (comics).
What # would define your life journey?
Favorite website / app:
This website shows the live attacks that are happening around the world, the attackers, their targets, the attack types, and other information. I find this website fascinating and I can’t help but wonder the reason behind these attacks: are they just for security checking purposes? do they have a political context? why is the US the most attacked country?
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
When I was interviewing for colleges, I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful woman named Elizabeth Sczhudlo. She was a Brown University interviewer at the time, so I told her everything she needed to know about me. She was amazed by how many things we had in common, and she kept in contact with me after the interview. When I told her that I had chosen Yale University, she immediately planned a shopping trip to prepare me for the East coast. I simply could not believe that someone would be so generous as to buy me most things I would need to survive Connecticut’s weather. And she did not stop there! When I told her that I was going to move in to Yale by myself, she decided to join me and to help me survive the first days of college.
Elizabeth is a television writer, who like me, was also a low-income student in college. She has inspired me to not only continue pursuing excellence, but also, to be generous. I do not have the financial resources to help out other students as she helped me, but I am now a peer mentor that support students from underrepresented backgrounds in STEM. Thanks for the lesson Liz!
Song that makes you want to dance:
I’m so excited by The Pointer Sisters.
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
In my first year of college, I simply did not want to ask for help. Before college, I had solved all my homework by myself. I was used to not having someone to help me, so I would spend hours on end working on p-sets that should have taken less time. I fooled myself into thinking that if I asked for help, I would become dependent on help and I would not be able to pass my midterms. Thus, I ended my first semester with a GPA much lower than I would like to admit.
It was not until the second semester that I finally abandoned my flawed mentality and started attending tutoring hours more often. I realized that I actually learned more by interacting with other students and that it is okay to not have an answer to every question. Now, I have a group of people that I work with to solve p-sets.
I see myself in a job that is challenging, enjoyable, and that allows me to have a large impact in society. Hopefully, this job will require periodic travels abroad. And of course, this job will have to do something with software or network engineering. Coding is too fun to stay away from it.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
There are many people who will tell you (or have told you) that you will not make it. Prove them wrong. Show them that you are more than capable to create that website or app you’ve been dreaming of. Do not let their hurtful comments break your strong self. And most importantly, do not be afraid of the challenges ahead of you. Remember that the more you challenge yourself, the more you will grow as a person.