2015: A Year in Review

Traveled around 12 different countries. Signed a full-time job offer. Worked on exploring myself.

At the end of 2014, I wrote a reflection about my personal highlights, experiences, and takeaways from the year. Keeping with this new tradition, I wanted sit down and take the time to review the year of 2015! It’s easy to get dragged down by the monotonous every day routine, but it’s exciting to look at the larger collection of meaningful highlights — makes me realize how much has happened and how happy I am to be alive experiencing the world around me.

Some of the places I lived and visited.

This time last year, I had just finished interning in Washington D.C. and had headed home to spend time with my family for the holidays. In January, I returned to UW to pick back up with where I left off. It was great seeing familiar faces in Seattle again! Over the summer, I stayed around town and interned at Microsoft on the Skype team as a Program Manager. In an exciting twist to the plan, I loved the team and work so much that I decided to graduate UW a year early to accept their full-time offer! Should make for a very eventful 2016 :)

At the end of the summer, my friend Hannah and I hopped on a plane to Europe for a month without any plans. We met so many different people, saw a bunch of countries, ate lots of amazing food, and had one of the biggest adventures of our lives. It really renewed my desire to see the world and try new things — two values I really want reflected in my life. I headed back to UW to work on graduating early and am finishing up the year here in Austin where Christmas has 80 degree weather!

Here are a few highlights from 2015:

  • Had the opportunity to attend a bunch of great conferences that helped me explore my interests. Some of those included Y Combinator Female Founders, WeRobot, Quantified Self, SEA-VR, and the Washington State Governor’s Life Sciences Conference.
  • Hannah and I became Co-Presidents of the Lavin Entrepreneurship Program at UW, an organization full of my favorite people who are working on creating the future.
  • During Spring Break, my Dad and I took a trip to Belize for the week! We snorkeled around the second largest coral reef in the world, swam with sharks, hiked around Mayan ruins, went tubing through caves, and sat around reading on the beach.
  • Started dating my best friend about halfway through the year! Josiah and I spent summer going on awesome weekend trips to places like San Francisco, Ocean Shores, Leavenworth, and Vancouver. Always my favorite person to go on adventures with :)
  • Spent the summer interning for Microsoft on the Skype team. Worked on a variety of projects from researching the future of AI to writing blog posts to working on computer science education initiatives. Even had the chance to be a guest speaker for the Girls Who Code group on campus.
  • One of the projects over the summer I’m particularly proud of was hosting a STEM Education Summit, which Microsoft covered here. We were able to Skype in speakers from The White House, Yale, and Grey’s Anatomy!
  • Hannah and I explored Europe for a month without any plans. We ended up visiting Paris, London, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Dublin, Barcelona, Milan, Zurich, and a few other gorgeous places in Switzerland. I already want to go back to Europe.
  • While I was in Dublin, I gave a talk to the Computer Science Department at University College Dublin about the importance of hackathons and entrepreneurship. Here’s my abstract.
  • In 2015, I really wanted to get more active! Towards the end of this year I picked up a few classes (hip hop and kickboxing) that I want to stick with into the new year.
  • After being so involved with Computer Science Education Week last year, I wanted to continue sharing a topic I’m passionate about. This year I partnered with Microsoft to make a video (below) about why you should learn how to code. I even had the chance to walk Seahawks player, Luke Wilson, along with twenty other children through the Hour of Code!
  • Just signed a full-time job offer with Microsoft to join the Skype team as a PM! Both nervous and very excited — becoming an adult feels weird.

Things I want to do in 2016:

  • Form consistent, healthy lifestyle habits. Exercise, cooking, and sleep deserve more of a priority in my life. Figure out a work-life balance.
  • Read and write more. My shelves are full of untouched books.
  • Keep trying new things — fly a plane, go on a hot air balloon, see the world. Go out of my comfort zone.
  • Do a better job of staying in touch with the people that I love.
  • Work on understanding that the productivity obsession doesn’t necessarily correlate to happiness. Being busy can be an illusion. Use my time wisely and separate the signal from the noise.
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language, and next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning…” — T.S. Eliot

2015 has been full of ups and downs, but it’s always surprising to see how far a year can take you. It amazes me how unpredictable the events right around the corner are.

Looking forward to filling 2016 with life and love.

Here’s to the New Year!