Name: Larissa Ho
Graduated high school from: TAF Academy in Federal Way
School and area of study: University of Washington, Computer Science
Year in college: Junior
Current internship: Prior to my current summer internship, I was interning in a research lab at the UW Computer Science department the summer before my freshman year. Last summer, I interned in a research lab at a university in Germany. It was definitely a great experience being aboard and getting hands on experience in a field I’m interested in. The cool part though was Theresa connected me to another WSOS Scholar who was working there too.
Now, I’m teaching 20 female students in the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program. I participated in Girls Who Code when I was in high school, so it definitely feels good to give back to a program that had a huge impact on my career aspirations. I get to be a role model to my students and show them that they too can be successful in the tech industry. As a female in tech, it is important to develop supportive communities and networks throughout my career. And my students and fellow teaching team members have definitely become a part of that.
What should people know about you? I’m passionate about technology especially with how it can be intersected with social good. I feel like I’m working in an industry that makes significant change in the world and has a big impact on people. As I’ve taken classes towards my bachelor’s degree, I’ve noticed the connections between diverse fields of study and computer science. It’s exciting to see these intersections as it truly highlights the versatility of tech and the multiple ways I can work towards my passions.
People should also know that I’m an advocate for increasing the number of women and people of color in STEM which is one of the main reasons why I got into working with Girls Who Code. I’ve also been fortunate enough to be a TUNE House Scholar for the past two years. And when I’m not busy in class you can find me working on UW’s hackathon, DubHacks where I’m part of the executive organizing team.
What would be your advice to new scholars? The scholarship is more than financial help. Take advantage of the people you meet, the networks you’re building, connect with people on LinkedIn, and go to your Program Officer’s office hours. I don’t make it to office hours a lot, but UW Seattle’s contact, Theresa still manages to remember me. By catching up with her and sharing where I’m off to next both educationally and professionally, she’s always provides great advice and/or connects me with someone who may help. Definitely utilize all the programs and support that WSOS provides.
Can you tell us about the process of finding an internship? I found utilizing my network extremely useful. I got my first internship through one of my high school teachers who referred me to the program and helped me prepare for the interview. Similarly, I landed my second internship aboard in Germany through my PI (principal investigator) in a lab I was working in. Really use your network and the people you meet, connect with people on LinkedIn and in person at career fairs as they are great resources for finding opportunities too. I would also say that job hunting can be discouraging. It’s easy to come across a posting and think you’re not qualified. Be confident in your abilities and know that you can always learn and pick up new skills moving forward.