"Do what feels right for you. There’s money in tech but if it’s not what you love, it’s not worth it. Don’t feel pressure from anyone telling you AI is the next big thing."
Hear Carmelle give a tutorial on how to develop an app using ReactJS!
My Code.X class in Palestine last year, 2019 - they're high school sophomores here!
My career roadmap has been all over the place.
From a young age, I developed a significant interest in math. I carried this interest forward into my career at AOC by joining the robotics team and receiving mentorship from COC math professor Dr. Demerjian.
At AOC, I thought about becoming an environmental engineer, materials scientist, or a quant at a financial institution like Jane Street. I ended up choosing a factory-like path at Stanford. Something crazy like 50% of undergrad majors in Computer Science. But it’s so fun! And the program is amazing!
I knew that computer science is a very stable and lucrative path--additionally, I actually really like to code. For a time at Stanford, I hated coding. I wanted to build apps, not decipher workers and threads that literally froze my entire computer. That’s the truth that they don’t tell you about your dream school.
My favorite CS class in college was Web Dev, which to be honest, I’m not sure if that counts as computer science. Yet, I discovered how much I enjoyed designing something in a notebook and watching it come to life. I loved that kind of creativity and entrepreneurial drive that I probably picked up while watching my peers create their own start-ups at Stanford.
After attending a Grace Hopper conference, I took on an Internship at Squarespace in my junior year at Stanford. Then, I got to study abroad in Japan, which was hands down one of the best experiences of my life. Coming back to Stanford was about the last thing I wanted to do when I got to the airport in Tokyo.
Stanford was incredibly difficult, and dark at times. I’m so glad I just kept going, even when my straight As in high school turned into, “Thank God I got a C+!” at Stanford. I graduated in 2019, where I spent the following summer teaching computer science in Palestine with Code.X.
Currently, I’m doing things that I enjoy, while keeping a steady income, and continuing to attend networking events.
Here are my extracurriculars relevant to this pathway
DURING MY HIGH SCHOOL CAREER
Associate’s Degrees in Math
Research Lab Intern at a Scanning Tunneling Microscopy lab at California State University, Northridge
Project 691 Robotics
Piano teacher at the Boy’s and Girl’s club, which kept me sane
DURING MY COLLEGE CAREER
Tridelt Sorority (not exactly great for my grades but.. Great networking)
Software Engineering Intern for Kyoto VR; Coded back-end Unity custom editor to make AR app development more fluid for employees without CS background.
React Native Instructor: Taught Palestinian high-school sophomores how to build a React Native app in two weeks
Consulting Intern for Social Entrepreneur Corps: Data collection / analysis with Python and Excel on local micro-savings groups for displaced Haitian immigrants
SquareSpace Software Engineering Internship
What I'm currently doing/hope to do
How to maximize my time in high school?
Advice #1: Do what feels right for you. There’s money in tech but if it’s not what you love, it’s not worth it. Don’t feel pressure from anyone telling you AI is the next big thing. AI is just glorified statistics, computer screens are just pixels, and many software engineers feel like glorified bricklayers. It’s all about how you feel on the inside about what you’re doing.
Advice #2: You don’t need a CS degree to be a software engineer--but it definitely helps with getting internships and jobs, I can’t deny that.
Advice #3: You might not even realize you’re “low-income”--I didn’t. But these private schools have a lot of money. So google it, see if you’re low-income. And don’t forget to apply to CSS profile if you’re going to a private school! I forgot and thought I had to decline Stanford because I did not have $60,000+ a year. That was more than our entire household’s salary (my dad’s salary) at the time.
Advice #4: College is really hard, and that’s okay. Just keep plugging along, no matter how hard it gets. I think what made college extra difficult for me was that as much as I loved the mentors and positive influences I had at AOC, I was not prepared for anything except math at Stanford, and barely that. The quarter system really killed me.
Advice #5: Success has its own weight to it. Don’t be surprised when achieving a goal like getting into college magically doesn’t make you feel better. It might actually increase the pressure you feel. The achievement high is very short-lived, but honing a skill, or a community, and appreciating the nuances of it--that’s the real reward, in my humble opinion.