Women Who Reign: Heather Kimberly Huynh
“I firmly believe you never should spend your time being the former anything.” — Condoleezza Rice
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Hi! I’m Heather Huynh, a junior Computer Science major at the University of Georgia. I’m really passionate about STEM outreach and I love to create new things. I once tried building a chair as a weekend project because it seemed like it would be fun. I also find languages fascinating and hope to start learning Japanese soon. Additionally, I like exploring the world because there’s so much you can learn from other cultures. I also really love eating new foods.
What # would define your life journey?
#outreach defines my life journey because I feel that I’ve been fortunate with all the opportunities I’ve had in my life. Because of that, I want to give some of those opportunities to others who may not be as fortunate. I’ve focused a lot on reaching out in my community to start a science tutoring program for Science Olympiad as well as tutoring in my community with Google’s CSFirst. Moving forward, I’d like to do some outreach programs for college students as well.
Favorite website / app:
My favorite app is Duolingo because it’s a really fun way to learn languages!
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted (if any):
I’m really inspired by Sheryl Sandberg. She gave a great interview/talk at Grace Hopper this year and it made me excited about creating Lean-In groups at my own school. The idea of Lean-In groups really made sense once I realized just how isolated I sometimes feel in my own major.
Technical challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
I was working on an API challenge with a friend for a game we both play: League of Legends. It was my first time working with a Python framework and was my first time trying to do something more than a static webpage on my Apache server. It took a long time to get Flask set up on the server. When I first installed it, I kept getting server errors from Apache. I would change the configuration, look through the WSGI script, and try again. Each time, I got a server error. This continued for the rest of the night until I finally decided I should take a break. I went to sleep, woke up the next day, refreshed, and was about to easily spot the problem which was actually in our python code, not the configurations. Solving the problem was so satisfying even though it was frustrating to begin with. It helped me learn that if I’m struggling with coding something, I should take a step back and focus on something else for a while. Sometimes, focusing too much on something can make you lose sight of what the actual problem is.
A job where I can code impactful products that help increase the quality of life for people. I’d also like to share my passion for coding and the cool new technologies that are released everyday with others.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Don’t be afraid to try new things, but at the same time, it’s important to focus. You don’t necessarily need to only specialize in Java, for example, but it can hinder your efforts if you try to learn Java and Python and C++ all at the same time. There’s only so much you can learn at one time, so it’s important to pick and choose. You can always learn a skill later on, but it’s hard to get better without focus.