#WomeninSTEM · #WomeninTech · inspiration

Women Who Reign: Nancy Ho

“Destiny is a name often given in retrospect to choices that had dramatic consequences.” – J.K. Rowling
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Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I’m a junior at Wellesley College studying math and computer science and I’m from Chicago. I grew up in a family where neither of my parents spoke English or went to college! I am a First Generation college student and studying at Wellesley has helped me to embrace and appreciate that aspect of my life. When I’m not working on psets, I love watching Brooklyn Nine Nine and trying new foods! I’m an adventurous eater.

Fun fact: I used to help out a lot at my family’s Chinese takeout restaurant!
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What # would define your life journey?
#rollercoaster

Through my four years of high school, I always thought I would go to a technical, engineering school. I swore to myself that I would never major in either math or computer science. Before senior year, I hadn’t even considered a liberal arts college. I never even visited Wellesley before orientation.

Then I decided on Wellesley. Needless to say, when I arrived at Wellesley, I had a huge culture shock. I had a hard time adjusting to the environment of higher level education where most of my peers had parents with college degrees. Most of the time, I couldn’t relate to others because my experiences were so different than theirs, and I didn’t feel like I belonged. It took me time, but eventually I found my people, and they have made all the difference.
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I never thought that I would study math or computer science, but there’s nothing else I would rather be doing. In every discipline, there are difficult problems to take on, but in math and computer science, I find they have the most interesting and challenging problems to tackle.

Of course, because of the challenge, there have been moments where I have failed and it felt like the end of the world. It was as if those moments negated everything I had ever achieved in my life. The words were clear in my mind: I don’t belong here. I told my parents about my concerns, but they didn’t understand my experience. Learning to accept failure on my own has been one of the hardest lessons in my life, but the most important. For me, I had to realize failures happen, but I needed to get back, regroup, and be resilient. It also doesn’t hurt to have good friends around.

I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, and what paths I want to take, but I know that even if I have everything figured out, my life will still be a #rollercoaster.
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Favorite website / app:
Grubhub

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
This is super cliché, but definitely my mom is one of my most inspiring figures. This might have embarrassed me when I was young, and perhaps it still does, but she taught me to speak up for myself, and just to speak up in general. As a child, I was shy and sometimes didn’t want to translate, but my mom, who had little to no English skills, would try her best to communicate instead.

Song that makes you want to dance:
Lush Life by Zara Larsson.
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Ideal Job:
Preferably, I’ll be working in tech, with a focus on big data! On the side, hopefully, I’ll also be helping with initiatives for low-income, first gen students who hope to go to college, and providing support while they’re there. Getting to college is just the first step.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Admit and accept your failures. Failures are not talked about because they’re seen as shameful, something that we need to hide, but honestly, we all fail sometimes. When you look back at what you’ve done, you’ll be proud to see how far you’ve come since those failures.
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