“Well, if you weren’t nervous, it wouldn’t be worth doing” – Bill Nye
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Hello! I’m a senior from Alameda, CA where I love to play soccer, create meaningful projects and make puns. Outside of school, I’m a STEM-aficionado and enjoy spending time helping out my community. I’m the founder and executive director of a program called She STEMs to teach middle school girls about computer science and how they can use it for social good, as well as Bit by Bit, an after-school technology program hosted at my local library. As a fun fact, I can juggle a soccer ball (over 100 times) and I carry an “adventure book” with me everywhere I go!
I fell in love with technology after learning how technology was used in animation films and at theme parks. I was fascinated with how 0s and 1s could create unity and curiosity amongst people while also telling stories.
What # would define your life journey?
Favorite website / app:
One of my favorite websites features the book “The Boat.” However, they create an immersive storyline filled with extraordinary visuals and audio. The story is really powerful and inspiring, and I like how they use technology to demonstrate it. I also like playing around with Arduinos to make mini projects and Raspberry Pis to learn more about computers.
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
This summer, I had the honor of teaching 15 incredible girls in Denver as an instructor’s assistant for 2 weeks in Denver. However, I had to arrive a few days late since I needed to finish up my finals at school. Although I arrived late, the other instructors were extremely supportive and allowed me to jump right in with the group. The instructors I worked with to teach these girls inspired me immensely. Everyday, they came filled with energy and excitement to teach. Together, they were able to break down programming and balance each other’s teaching styles. They taught me how to connect with students and be proud of who I am., and their support especially helped me as I ran the first She STEMs Camp session the following week in my hometown. They reminded me on how to be myself and embrace my personality, and without their support, I don’t think I would be the same as I am today.
Song that makes you want to dance, gives you courage to face the day, or makes you feel strong?
“Titanium” by Sia and David Guetta
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
Since 8th grade, I’ve struggled with family issues involving mental health. This challenge forced me to grow up quickly and develop a strong sense of independence. My parents no longer had time to focus on me as much when I went to soccer games as they needed to spend time in the hospital. This event threw me into a loop at school as I began blaming myself for their depression and questioned how I could be oblivious to the internal struggles of a member in my family. It affected my schoolwork and anxiety at school. Although I’m still struggling a bit with this issue today, the challenge has made me appreciate all the little things in life into importance and develop a stronger sense of empathy. This has helped me today by inspiring me to create applications that can benefit others and a reminder to appreciate the people in my life.
All my life I’d say I’m an artist. I’ve loved to design things from architecture to multimedia art since I was little. At the same time, though, I love technology and the influence tech has on other industries. That’s why I hope to fuse these two passions of art and technology as an engineer at an animation company like Pixar or through robotics. I want to be able to develop products that positively impact lives and learn new skills along the way.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Dream big and utilize your opportunities! The most important thing is to believe in your aspirations and take action to achieve those dreams. Take chances by asking for help and connecting with people who will support you along the way. It can be difficult to focus on achieving a goal, but if you have the dedication and persistence, you can achieve any goal.
Ashley Chu is a nationally recognized leader!
2018 NCWIT Bay Area Affiliate and National Honorable Mention
2017 & 2018 YSA Grantee
2017 & 2018 Kode With Klossy Scholarship
2018 EF Tours Global Citizen
Featured in Emily Chang’s Brotopia
Living the Example Grand Prize Winner