I’m currently pursuing a Master’s in Journalism at Stanford University. I want to investigate how computers can make it easier for humans to report stories.
In less than a year, I went from co-authoring a machine learning paper at Google to publishing a news article on immigrants' fears during California wildfires. I transitioned from a career in software engineering to being a full-time journalism student at Stanford for several reasons: practicing writing, learning new media, applying computation to the field. Most importantly, though, I wanted to engage with the world in a way I found meaningful. I see journalism as a way to orient my skills as a programmer to the civic sphere.
My current passions are heavily defined by my motivations as a child. In first grade, I started creating stick figure computer games using drag-and-drop programming software. In fourth grade, my older brother taught me beginner C++. From that foundation, I continued to program on my own for fun, absorbing books and online resources.
I started taking piano lessons when I was six and stopped at ten. But the end of my formal lessons freed me to start improvising and composing. I’ve continued since, and only when I formally studied music again at Harvard did my style drift to be more classical and rule-oriented.
In high school, an influential English teacher got me hooked on writing — prose is more expressive than the most refined programming language. I began writing for the school newspaper and uncorked a torrential passion for the humanities.
While working at Google after college — what was an ideal starting job for a programmer and researcher — I still felt an unsatisfied itch. Though I was on a team beside professors and PhDs working on fascinating cross-domain problems, I desired a more tangible connection to the world and its political and social topics.
I applied to several forward-thinking journalism schools at the end of 2016, hoping to go somewhere that would encourage using programming to solve large-scale issues in the field. I ended up choosing to study at Stanford, a small but innovative program led by James T. Hamilton, a media economist who is helping lead efforts to advance the field of computational journalism.
I am now working hard toward my Master’s degree but loving every moment. Journalism is the field I believe I can have the most impact in, not only through writing but also through envisioning new media, creating tools for reporters, and designing platforms for news consumers.