Lovissa Huigita (BS CS 16) Q&A
Why is it important to celebrate AAPI 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.
How do you define successful leadership?
Leading implies directing towards a goal, so a successful leader can be measured by whether the goal is achieved. A successful leader knows how to get to the goal and sets an example for their team to do so. They play to their team’s strengths and weaknesses to achieve the goal. They think ahead and see the bigger picture that their team does not. They are respected and heard by their team.
Why did you choose to earn a degree in computer science?
Honestly, it’s a high demand job with good paychecks. I was raised in a family that encouraged STEM regardless of gender, I never felt like I should not choose Computer Science even though it’s a male-dominated field. I am used to being the only or one of the few female engineers, but hope that my representation is seen by a co-worker or two that this is a possibility for their daughters one day.
What is something about your time at Georgia Tech/College of Computing that you will carry with you, or that still informs your professional life?
Early in my Georgia Tech years, I was listening to Professor Leahy’s CS 2110 lecture on logic gates, and halfway through the lecture I was so lost. I felt so defeated and thought “I am not smart enough for Georgia Tech”. After class, I came to Professor Leahy and asked questions. He answered all of them patiently (which probably repeated most of the lecture) and then said, “No one will be able to remember everything in the lecture today, good students go home and review them.” Aside from setting the rigor expected from Georgia Tech, that experience taught me to face my limitations head-on and people are willing to help when you need it. Georgia Tech is showered with geniuses, but it does not prevent you from succeeding at your own pace.
Beyond money, awards, and job titles, what’s the biggest measure of success?
How I treat the people around me. It does not feel like a success if along the way I harm, ignore, or take advantage of other people to achieve my goals.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
I have the tendency to believe that I am not capable of excelling in my workplace. Usually it revolves around either I am not smart enough, I don’t know enough, or I am behind compared to my peers. Those thoughts have done me a lot of harm throughout my career because it robbed me from opportunities to offer my thoughts to my peers or take on bigger roles or responsibilities that I should have been ready for. Those insecurities still exist until this day, but I learned that they should not sabotage my progress at work. Even if there is some truth to it, it should motivate me to work twice as hard and prove my thoughts wrong. When I am having those thoughts at work, I have to consciously acknowledge them, and figure out a game plan to beat it. I take the small wins when I actually beat those thoughts, humbly accept my limitations when I fall short, and slowly build confidence from there.