Hack the Hood believes in highlighting the young people who have brought their skills and passions to our program to inspire others. We're profiling a different young leader each month to share their journey through Hack the Hood and beyond, with Emily being our June feature.
1. What made you decide to join Hack the Hood (HtH)? When did you start with HtH?
I heard about Hack the Hood about two years ago at the Oakland Public Library when Danny was there doing outreach. I was looking for something to do in the summer, so I applied online to join the summer bootcamp. At that time, I didn’t exactly know what Hack the Hood was or what to expect, but I'm really glad that I went through with it because I grew a lot from being in the program.
2. What did you learn that was unexpected? Was there anything that surprised you about the program?
I was excited to learn how to build websites, but I didn’t expect to learn interpersonal skills as well. Working with a small business helped me develop customer service and communication skills. I joined the bootcamp with a lot of people that I knew, so I was also surprised that I was able to make valuable connections and friendships that carried beyond the program.
3. What has your journey post- Hack the Hood looked like?
After the Summer 2017 Bootcamp ended, I joined the Tech Prep Coding classes in the fall. That helped me to continue developing my coding skills. I was still pretty active with Hack the Hood and was able to attend F8, the Facebook Developers Conference, with them. After that, I was invited to join the team as a Tech Fellow for the Summer 2018 Bootcamp. That was really exciting because it was a way for me to give back to my community, meet the students and hear all of their inspiring stories.
A month after Summer Bootcamp, I started my freshman year at UC Davis. I came in thinking I was going to be a computer science major, but I was pleasantly surprised when I took Chemistry. Now, I am thinking of going into Data Science in the chemistry field and to combine both of my passions. I have since interned at 2 UC Davis organizations: Student Health and Wellness and Sustainability.
4. What do you do for fun?
I enjoy watching new dramas on Netflix and looking for new books to read. I love going to the movies and supporting the local theaters in Oakland like Parkside Theatre and Grand Lake Theatre.
5. What are your favorite foods?
That’s easy for me. I love poke. And boba.
6. What are three places you enjoy visiting in the Bay Area and beyond?
I enjoy Lake Merritt. I used to walk past it all the time in high school, and it was nice because it gave me time to think and just enjoy the view every day. Oakland’s Chinatown will always be close to my heart because it’s where I grew up. It’s definitely changing though with gentrification.
7. Who are your top music artists?
I listen to various types of music, but my top artists have to be Adele and Coldplay.
8. Who do you follow on insta?
I’ve been trying to lessen my social media usage, so I don’t have the app on my phone anymore, but I still go through Instagram when I’m on my personal computer. I follow Asian American comedians, like Ali Wong. Growing up, I never experienced watching that many Asians in entertainment so I’m glad to them emerging. Aside from that, I enjoy following food channels like Tastemade and Buzzfeed Tasty.
9. Where’d you grow up? What do you like about the Bay Area?
I grew up in Oakland and I stayed in the Bay Area basically my entire life. I love the Bay Area’s diversity and the variety of different cultures and food. The Bay Area is so different than Davis and I love that in the Bay Area, there is so much going on and different events where everyone can participate in.
10. What’s something you’d like to see change in Oakland? What do you want your contribution to that change to be?
I would want to see people in Oakland with more opportunities, as in I wish there were more programs helping the homeless and lower socioeconomic communities with programs to help them build businesses and teach technical skills. I want my contribution to that change is to teach the youth these skills earlier and to help them prepare for the future.
11. What do you appreciate about today’s technology?
I appreciate the ease of being connected to anything these days. Everyone can be connected almost instantly to information, directions, and people.
12. What type of technology do you wish you had, but hasn’t been invented yet?
One technology I wish I had was a portable health scanner, like Bay Max. A machine which can run blood tests or perform typical doctor duties which doesn’t require you to go in for a check-up. I think this tool would be great not only for the ease of home health care but for communities where there is a shortage of health care professionals and in a clinic, a machine like this can help the community thrive.
13. What would be your dream job? What do you want to be when you grow up?
My dream job would be a data analyst. I want to be somewhere in the STEM field when I grow up, combining my favorite subjects, chemistry and computer science. I want to be in a position where I can give back to the community and help youth who are looking to get into this field.
Photography by Christine Cueto.
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