’20
Tracy
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Computer Science
Mathematics

Interests

Soccer, Painting, Muay Thai, The Big Bang Theory show, Gym, Volunteering, Tutoring

Homepage
About Me

How I landed my first tech internship

December 19, 2017

I took four days off from school last October to travel to Florida for the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) 2017. Although I had to deal with the crazy aftermath of making up for midterms and homework, I had such a blast in Orlando that it was worth it! The weather was perfect; I met a lot of cool people and made new friends through the conference, and also landed an awesome internship for this summer after attending the GHC career fair. 

GHC is an annual conference geared towards women in technical professions, and a great opportunity for female CS majors to expand their network, learn more about the field, and potentially land an internship or job offer. I first heard of this opportunity from my Computer Science professor, Dr. Jory, who ended up writing me a recommendation letter when I applied for the Anita Borg’s GHC Scholarship. I applied back in March and heard back in May. Throughout the summer and the months leading up to the conference in October, Anita Borgs sent me many helpful emails with advice to navigate through the events successfully, logistics information, or a link to a resume database that will be opened for prospective companies attending the career fair.

The conference itself was crazy busy but also very well-organized. I love the keynote speeches by Melinda Gates or Fei-Fei Li — they were quite inspirational, and they helped me realize there are so many paths - some even unconventional - to success. Throughout the day there were multiple talk sessions available on the latest tech trends, tips for promoting your career, expanding professional networks, or research findings, etc, and a massive career fair with many different technology companies. To give you a mental image of how big this career fair is, I spent most of my 3 days at the career fair walking around and talking to recruiters, and still couldn’t visit all the company booths available there! Each booth also had plenty of swag (which are cool things like T-shirts, flash drives, bags, water bottles that companies gave out), and at the end of the trip, I had to try my best to fit all of them into my carry-on luggage.

swag

It was also really fun to meet and talk to new people. One girl I met was an electrical engineer, and she traveled all the way from Poland the day before. Another was actually an old high school friend that I had not seen in a while, so that reunion was a pleasant surprise! Talking to female software engineers also gave me a glimpse into what I should expect when I enter the industry, and whether it is the right path for me. As I discussed the issue of the gender gap in STEM fields with others and shared about my experience at Richmond, I also realized UR has a great support system for women in Computer Science. Although the gender ratio is not exactly balanced, the female CS majors in my classes are all excelling both academically and professionally, and I've personally never experienced any sexist comments or felt discouraged during my time here. Plus, just like how Dr. Jory encouraged me to attend GHC, UR professors often introduced us to opportunities that would enhance our professional experiences, and I really appreciate them for that.

GHC

(Me meeting with my friend at GHC)

After visiting many companies at the career fair, I got scheduled for an in-person interview with Mastercard on the last day of the conference. To be honest, it was quite nerve-wracking as I had not had a lot of experiences with interviewing before. However, my technical recruiter was really nice, and it felt like just a pleasant conversation to get to know each other. Several days after I got back from GHC, I got an email from Mastercard offering me a position in their internship program for the Summer of 2018! I’m really looking forward to going to St. Louis this summer and gaining more exposure to the tech industry.

Friday Party

(Friday Night party)

The conference ended with a fun party on Friday night, with DJ, great desserts, silent disco (when everyone put on a headphone of their own and just dances to their own music on a disco floor — it’s actually pretty fun!), and a lot of dancing. I really enjoyed the trip, and next year I’ll definitely go again!

About me

Hi guys, I'm Tracy, a newbie Spider at Richmond! My majors are probably Computer Science and Math, and I'm so in love with my current Math/CS classes. They're all amazing! A little more about my background: I'm from Vietnam, but I went to high school in Nebraska. It feels so weird to be a freshman again, when you practically know nobody at school, keep getting lost while finding your classes, always look up to your upperclassmen (no actually, with my height of 5ft2'',  I technically look up to everyone); and struggle with all the new changes.

Yet, it's also exciting! If you haven't already known, University of Richmond offers a wealth of choices in academics, research opportunities, extracurricular activites and - most importantly - desserts. So my goal is to get out of my comfort zone, jump at different opportunities (or desserts) that intrigue me, and make the most out of my college experience. I love soccer, so my friends and I just formed an intramural team named Kiss My Pass. I'm also interested in martial arts, learning ballroom dancing, painting, learning guitar, baking, making new friends,  tutoring and volunteering. Yup, that's quite a lot! But I have 4 years here to follow my passions and become who I aspire to be. As a Spider Diarist, I will also make sure to keep you updated on my journey at Richmond!


Why UR?

I actually applied to UR on a whim without researching carefully about it. At that time, all those tedious Why X and "What's your plans bla bla bla" prompts have exhausted my meager creative juices, and writing college essays quickly rose to the top of my most dreaded chores. "Tell us about Spiders" was a fresh air. It revived the truly poetic, hopelessly romantic, exasperatingly dramatic and possibly neurotic side of me. In short, I loved the prompt; and with the waived application fee as a plus, I decided to apply to UR. It was not until I got accepted that I started visiting the school and seriously considering what it has to offer. During my first visit, as cliched as that might sound, I fell in love with Richmond. What's not to love about such helpful and outstanding professors, the wonderful opportunities to engage in research or study abroad, the vibrant, inclusive and diverse community, and again - most importantly - the irresistable desserts? I went to the admission office to pay my deposit right during that visit. And voilà, here I am as an excited baby Spider!