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jae hyun

Computer Science masters student, New York University

 

And - Google Summer of Code 2018 participant with The Processing Foundation

If I ever let what others thought of me affect me, I would not be where I am now.

What do you do?

As a student, I spend most of my time learning as much about Computer Science as I can. I’m trying my best to make sure that I take classes in areas that I may not be exposed to while working after graduation.

Why did you choose this field?

As an undergraduate, I was a Biology and International Studies double major. In high school, I was never exposed to majors like Computer Science so I didn’t know that it was even a field until the end of sophomore year. At the time, I was always under the impression that programming was a lonely venture, stuck in a dark room somewhere.

 

During junior year, I became part of a school club that organized Hackathons and was amazed at how much teamwork and cooperation programming required. Unfortunately as a double major I couldn’t spend quality time learning how to program so I ended up going into clinical research in psychiatry. While the work was interesting, I realized that it wasn’t for me. So I decided to take an intro to computer science class for fun and one thing lead to another and here I am!

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

"I wish the younger me could have known that studying Computer Science was an option."

I don’t have any regrets for studying Biology and International Studies but I can’t help but think what it would’ve been like for me to be exposed to programming earlier. Regardless, knowing that I can now contribute to building something that has the potential to reach many others is pretty cool. 

Why do you love working in STEM?

"It never ceases to amaze me how a few lines of code could deliver a potentially huge, positive impact."

I think I fell in love with programming because of my love for biology. I think the human body is so fascinating. It is intricate and amazing how everything comes together at the molecular level to build a living being. I find programming to be very similar in many ways except I get to be part of the building process. During junior year I interned for a venture philanthropy fund and learned about several NGOs leveraging technology for social good.

Best advice for the next generation

Be patient. Don’t be afraid. You are good enough. Don’t let others tell you otherwise. Be confident.  It's never too late, everyone starts somewhere. One of the best pieces of advice that I got from a friend was, “if I ever let what others thought of me affect me, I would not be where I am now”. 

Fun fact

I’m originally from South Korea but lived in Canada for about 9 years before going to the US for University!