Whether it’s in the public or private sector, industry or academia, our Asian American/Pacific Islander alumni are leading and paving the way for those that follow. To share their insights with the next generation, we reached out to some of our alumni for their thoughts on leadership, success, and why it’s important to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month.
LOVISSA HUIGITA (BS CS 16)
Why is it important to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month?
Your perspective on AAPI Heritage Month varies depending on who you are. However, we all have our own heritage/upbringing or a sense of where we come from. We don’t get to choose our upbringings, but we live with its perks and downsides. To celebrate your heritage is to embrace both the privileges and disadvantages your heritage has given you and how it has carried you to be where you are today. To celebrate other people’s heritage is to embrace that other people’s heritage is as important as yours.
Being a Chinese Indonesian, I am living the “A”API Heritage every day. I feel that my heritage is celebrated when my non-Chin-do friends or co-workers are willing to step out of their comfort zone to get to know my heritage to get to know me. I hope I have done my part to get to do the same. It may be as simple as taking turns picking lunch spots with coworkers, but it goes a long way in saying that where you and I come from matters.
AMY DAO (BS CS 18)
Like a lot of Georgia Tech students, alumna Amy Dao didn’t know what degree she wanted to pursue when she first arrived on campus in 2014.
She loved math and science, but Dao says she wasn’t sure what she loved enough to spend four years studying. She was also unsure about her career path at the time.
“As per the usual computer science (CS) students at Tech, a few upperclassman friends from high school urged me – and really anyone who wasn’t already a CS major – to try computer science. ‘Just take the introductory class. Try it out,’” she Dao explains.
Taking her friends advice, Dao registered for CS1301. She loved it.
“I loved how it made me think and how it is just continuous problem solving. Even more, programming the little scribbler robot brought me back to my childhood of fiddling with electronics,” says Dao.
Choosing to major in computer science at Georgia Tech meant that Dao could build a degree that catered to her interests through the College’s Threads program.
“I found Devices and People were the perfect threads to suit my interests. In addition to aligning with my interests, the abundance of job prospects was also rather enticing,” says Dao, who is now a software design engineer with Amazon.
ADITYA VISHWANATH (BS CS 18)
Before he was a Knight-Hennessy Scholar pursuing a Ph.D. in Learning Sciences and Technology Design at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education, Aditya Vishwanath was an avid undergraduate researcher at Georgia Tech.
In fact, he earned the President’s Undergraduate Research Award three times while at Georgia Tech. The focus of much of this work was looking into how virtual reality (VR) could help students in the classroom, often those from disadvantaged communities.
(BS CS 18)
Beyond money, awards, and job titles, what’s the biggest measure of success?
The biggest measure of success is the number of people who can trace their success back to you. For me, it isn’t about the accolades or the material aspects of success. You need to enjoy what you do and empower others to find that same joy in what they do. I find success in helping others succeed throughout my journey.
Recent Ph.D. Alumni
Before they graduated last year, these recent alumni were – each in their own way – focused on harnessing the power of computing to improve the world around them.