I'm a Staff Engineer at McGinnis Chen Associates, an architecture and engineering consulting firm in San Francisco. I recently graduated from UC Berkeley, where I studied Mechanical Engineering. After my freshman year, I took time off to work full-time as the Business Operations Manager at WriteLab, a then-startup developing educational technology in Berkeley.
McGinnis Chen Associates (MCA) is an architecture and engineering consulting firm based in San Francisco. The company specializes in waterproofing design, and has worked on projects including the iconic Ghirardelli Square and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The company also provides third party observation and testing services, litigation support, peer review, and construction administration.
I joined as an intern in Summer 2017. During that time, I conducted on-site waterproofing observations and testing, created CAD drawings and 3D models of assemblies and structural systems, and helped implement a new system to manage and analyze projects.
I re-joined the company full-time in July 2018. At MCA, I get the chance to see the full spectrum of real-world engineering. I gain hands-on experience with design, peer review, construction, testing, and iteration. I find it fascinating to see how large-scale projects with numerous stakeholders move from idea to reality, even when many people involved lack a formal education. My time at MCA illustrated the importance of clear communication and humility--no one builds something alone.
WriteLab is an educational technology startup that builds software to provide writers with instant, actionable, and specific feedback on their work. The company focuses on developing and distributing industry-leading technology, and was acquired in 2018 by Chegg.
As a Project Management Intern (in Fall 2014), and later a Business Development Intern (in Summer 2015), I worked in three main areas. First, I worked closely with the company leadership on business strategy. I helped structure long-term partnerships with educational technology leaders, making it possible for our team to focus on WriteLab’s core technology. I also pushed our leadership team to crystallize our company's vision and core values. Next, I expanded our marketing and outreach efforts by helping coordinate our efforts to gain traction at college writing centers. Finally, I solidified the company’s documentation, including technical records, material for venture capital firms, internal corporate and legal documents, and policies. My other tasks included planning the development team’s workflows and creating a pipeline for gathering, logging, and implementing user feedback.
I joined WriteLab full-time in August 2015 as the company's Business Operations Manager. Beyond managing finances, HR, and daily operations, I worked to accelerate our product's traction with our core customers. I developed a Sales Playbook for our team, adapting best practices for SaaS sales to meet our unique needs and resources. I also led our outbound marketing efforts and investor relations.
Bellevue’s Mayor Conrad Lee was running for re-election to the City Council. Despite his years of experience leading a billion-dollar city, his political opponents called for an outsider to take Mayor Lee’s Council seat.
As the campaign’s strategy leader, I crafted Mayor Lee’s overall political message and led the selection of key issues for us to focus our efforts on. I also created publicity content for the campaign’s website and printed materials. I also contacted donors and helped organize fundraisers and other events.
We raised over $100,000 and Mayor Lee was re-elected to the Council with almost 80% of the vote. This experience gave me an inside look at how a political campaign runs, as well the inner workings of City Council politics. I learned how to manage a team, create group deadlines, measure progress towards set goals, and motivate team members to complete tasks ahead of schedule and with the highest quality. In addition, I honed my communication skills, learning how to target messages for the greatest impact on public perception and enthusiasm.
The American Immigration Forums fosters community dialogue on the various issues surrounding immigration policy.
I worked on guiding the team to expand our discussion process, beginning with a clear vision for our work. I also managed the creation of various content needed to begin public engagement, including background information on the selected topics, a public opinion survey, and a report of findings. On the back end, I managed the members of the team and our internal deadlines.
Through our work, we renewed the urgency surrounding immigration issues. We set the Forums up to become a statewide platform. We also worked with Bellevue Youth Link to encourage students to become civically engaged, and Bellevue's City Council endorsed our work. Working on the American Immigration Forums gave me practice at running a diverse team, including creating and reaching goals, running meetings, and resolving interpersonal conflict. I also learned how to communicate the importance of public engagement on political topics, and how to spur enthusiasm for a topic uninteresting to many people.
I was a founding member of Interlake High School’s Speech and Debate team. During our first year, I worked to gain support from the school’s administrators and organize the students interested in joining. I also focused on getting parents enthusiastic about debate. Unlike other competition activities, debate requires significant parent involvement for judging rounds and getting the team to tournaments. In my second year, the team elected me President. I led administrative activities, including running meetings, organizing recruitment, and training new members.
After a successful start, our team is one of the region's best, and we now have the wholehearted support of the school’s administration (which we didn’t have when we first founded the team). During my time with the group, I learned how to recruit and engage volunteers to ensure success for the team. I also learned how to work with administrators to found a new organization in a system characterized by slow-moving bureaucracy.
I first started learning tabla, an Indian percussion instrument, when I was 8 years old. Since then, I have performed with Bollywood, Hindustani classical, and devotional music groups. Along the way, I have met some world-renowned musicians, including Zakir Hussain, Prince Rama Varma, and Hariprasad Chaurasia.
Tabla has given me a new appreciation for the intricate complexities of rhythm. Even when I am not accompanying a song, I find myself connecting deeply with the music in a way I had never imagined possible before my pursuit of tabla.
I competed in two main categories: Public Forum debate and Impromptu speaking. In Public Forum debate, my team partner and I debated on both sides of various political topics, from United States foreign policy in the Middle East to the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate. We took 4th place at the 2013 State competition. I also competed in Impromptu speaking, where each competitor chooses from three random topics and must speak on one with only a couple minutes of preparation time. I received the Top Speaker award at a regional tournament, and went on to compete at the State level in 2012 and 2013.
I received Varsity Letters in 2012 and 2013, as well as the National Forensics League’s Degree of Distinction.
DECA is a business-oriented competition. My partner and I competed in the Financial Services category, where we presented analyses of real-world scenarios (such as judging the creditworthiness of a small business).
The Future Problem Solving competition is a team effort where groups are given scenarios set several decades in the future, ranging from megacities to air pollution and desertification. Groups have two hours to articulate specific challenges in the scenario, and then come up with creative solutions to one of those challenges.
We qualified twice to compete at the State competition, and we took 6th place in 2013.
I enjoy running outdoors, and it seemed a natural continuation to join my school’s Track and Field team. I competed in short distance sprints (200m and 400m). Though I was far from the fastest, I loved the team spirit and motivation that characterized our practices. It was great to hear my teammates cheering me on. I learned that successes that initially appear to be individual efforts are in fact dependent on the support of an entire team.