#WomeninSTEM · #WomeninTech · inspiration · tech tools · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Wendy Zhou

“Whatever it is you’re seeking won’t come in the form you’re expecting.”
-Haruki Murakami


 

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
My name is Wendy Zhou, and I’m currently a high school junior at Alameda Community Learning Center. I’ve lived in the US for 12+ years and grew up in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Guangzhou, China and immigrated here when I was 4. My first languages were Mandarin and Cantonese!

My interest in programming started with Girls Who Code. I attended the Summer Immersion Program before my junior year, immediately falling in love. I especially enjoy front end development and designing! It’s satisfying to see how you can transform something just by modifying small details like colors and fonts. Attending GWC has led me to many opportunities that previously never crossed my mind. I, along with another GWC alumni, established and led the very first programming club at my school, teaching middle and high schoolers how to code in C++, HTML, and Javascript. I also coordinated the first Tech Conference at my school, inviting software engineers from Google, Uber, Amazon, and Microsoft for a panel, and holding workshops to teach students how to code. Those are some of the cool things I’ve gotten to do after my passion for programming budded!

Fun fact: I lead the Netflix club at my school. Not really to study aspects of film, more as an excuse to watch Netflix movies/shows during school hours.

 

Favorite website / app:
Quora! It’s a thriving community where intellectuals and thought-provoking opinions roam.

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Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
Mark Zuckerberg. Something that caught me off guard in a refreshing way was his simple piece of advice to young women—be the nerd. If you haven’t heard the story behind this quote, go check it out, I promise it’ll motivate you! It’s such an unconventional statement to encourage women, but that’s the exact reason it has gradually become my favorite quote.

One of the things I appreciate about this man is his obligation to contribute to society. We all know that he’s one of the most successful human beings on this planet, yet whenever I see one of his posts or read an article about him, it’s always about him serving others. It restores my faith in humanity to see how he and many other successful tech entrepreneurs are utilizing their resources to change the world for the better.

 

Song that makes you want to dance:
Everything from the Mulan soundtrack 🙂

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Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
Transitioning in America was definitely a struggle. I know that a lot of immigrants including my family face this situation where we come into this country without knowing a single English word, barely have connections to reach out for help, and start off with just enough financial resources to scrape by. As an oblivious little 4 year old kid, I only encountered a fraction of the challenges my parents had to confront. The most disappointing times were when I understood enough English to realize I was being made fun of, but didn’t have the capacity to defend myself.

But reflecting back on my first few years here, if I’m being completely honest, I’m very grateful that I grew up in those conditions. I realize that the person I’ve become is attributed to all experiences I’ve had, both successes and failures.

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What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
I’ve read many of the interviews from this ‘Women Who Reign’ series and I’m taken back by how incredibly accomplished and humble the featured women are. But one thing that is crucial for young women to realize is that while taking inspiration and learning from those that are featured is great, it is equally important to embrace individuality. I don’t mean this in a harsh, judgemental way. We often look to others and compare ourselves, thinking that: like so-and-so, if i do XYZ, then I’ll be just as successful, right? Everyone has unique traits and interests, it’s best to find opportunities that suit them. I’ve met a lot of developers working in amazing tech companies, and to my surprise, their route to success was always different from what I expected. The great thing about life is that there are infinite courses you can take leading to the same destination.

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