“Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure” – Marianne Williamson
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
My name is Yada, and I’m a junior Computer Science and Math major at Wellesley College. I came into college wanting to be a creative writer and a total activist, and since then has switched 360, transferred colleges, and worked at places like Facebook and the MIT Media Lab.
Right now, I’m on a Leave of Absence to lead a team of data scientists to predict the success of startups at one of Southeast Asia’s biggest Venture Capital firm and have a few exciting things lined up for summer (although I still have to figure out logistics so won’t disclose).
Fun fact: I once was stuck 50 meters from wild elephants in the Serengeti!
What # would define your life journey?
Favorite website / app:
Boomerang for email is amazing.
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
Honestly, I’ve always been inspired most by the peers I meet who have done incredible things. Take my friend Max Song for example. He dropped out of school for two years and got some real world experience as a data scientist, wrote and published a book, and started movements around the world, before going back to Brown and graduating. I guess it’s the notion that you can be successful in your own terms and that you don’t have to necessarily wait until after graduation to do cool projects.
It’s the notion of being successful because of what you do, rather than who you work for.
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
I guess I’ll go for the life challenge here – when I was 12, I was faced with the decision to either take the scholarship I had to go to the world’s first traveling high school, or stay in Thailand.
I’m glad I chose the riskier road.
One where I can work on moonshot projects and have high ownership over what I do, perhaps more on the research side.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Ask yourself, “why are you doing what you are doing?” There are so many markers of success out there – some people fawn over getting into Facebook or Google, while others scoff at that and fawn over YCombinator.
Be intentional with why you’re going down the path you’re going down. A lot of people go through school and deep into their career without knowing what they want to really do.
That’s why, even with multiple offers from Big Four companies for this summer, I chose the companies I did, and also why I took this leave of absence.
Also, for all of you international students out there, my advice would be to research your visa options early on (H1B, O-1, OPT, CPT) to know what possibilities there are for a career path. It’s harder for us to do anything really, but knowing your options is the way to go.
The ultimate question: “If you could do anything, what would you do?”