A Day in the Life – Erica Hsueh

1.       Who are you?

My name is Erica Hsueh and I am currently a junior at Northwood High School in Irvine. Aside from my parents, I have a sister who is a freshman at UC Berkeley and an adopted dog, Milky, who helps me to destress when school gets too stressful. I also love bubble tea and am always in search of the best bubble tea available.

2.       Where are you from?

I was born in Japan but later moved to Taiwan before immigrating to the United States in fifth grade. My mother is Japanese and father Chinese, so we speak different languages at home.

3.       What volunteer activities have you enjoyed doing with ChickTech OC?

I enjoyed meeting other girls at the ChickTech OC monthly workshop for high school girls, particularly the High School Kickoff-Workshop, where I volunteered as well as learned UI/UX. The workshop topics reflect the latest technology trends, so it is a great opportunity for a high schooler to come and learn.

4.       What made you want to volunteer with us?

I first heard of ChickTech OC last year at their Cisco’s Girls Power Tech Day and later, learned about its mission to increase the number of women and girls pursuing technology workforce. At the Cisco workshop, I saw many other high school girls, like myself, who are interested in technology but perhaps did not have the opportunity to pursue it. This is where ChickTech OC filled the gap, so I wanted to help. When I learned about the High School Volunteer Coordinator position, I applied and was accepted.

5.       What made you go into technology?

I was first exposed to computing when I moved to the United States. I was too shy to speak and make new friends because of limited English ability, so every day was a struggle. One day, my mother signed me up for an introductory coding camp for girls and I was hooked. My chance encounter with computing transformed me into a more confident, self-aware, and socially-engaged person, and my academic performance improved as well. From then on, I wanted to study technology in college and pursue it as a career.

6.       What do you hope to do in the near future?

Since this is the important summer before college, I am trying to decide on my plan. It will probably involve doing research, studying for my ACT, and working on my college applications. I hope to study computer science/engineering and business at college, but I also want to explore other fields. At present, technology and entrepreneurship are part of my career plan, as I intend to become a technology social entrepreneur. I hope to use technology to make our lives more productive and enjoyable and to improve society and the environment as a whole.

7.      What advice you can give to girls who want to go into technology?

I would recommend the girls to start early and find an organization, like ChichTech OC, that is constantly offering opportunities for girls to learn. There are also a lot more STEM opportunities in school now, so do not shy away from them simply because they look hard or do not have many girls participating. Also, take advantage of the many free online resources to learn about technology, which you can explore at your leisure.

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