Serry Park, Horizons S’16

UPDATE: SERRY LANDED A JOB AT SLACK. READ HER STORY HERE.

Your name: Serry Park

Age: 22

Where you’re from: Los Angeles, CA

Where you studied: Wellesley College

Majors and Minors: Biology, Psychology

Three words that best describe you: Compassionate, diligent, and inquisitive.

8 questions for Serry

1. When did you first get excited about the world of tech and entrepreneurship?

During my first year of college, I began working in a microbiology lab where I was introduced to DNA sequencing and other molecular techniques that heavily relied on new biotechnologies. Specifically, I was first introduced to computer science through the application of DNA sequence analysis software in my research. Such software was pivotal to the outcome and quality of my research. It blew my mind that computers could accurately and efficiently process hundreds of thousands of sequences and match them against large databases. Harnessing the power of the current and latest technology allowed me to construct hypotheses, execute experiments, and paint a larger picture of important processes that on a microscopic level.

2. Why did you decide to take Horizons and what’s been your favorite part so far?

I chose Horizons because I fell in love with computer science and its immense applications during my first few courses at MIT. Unfortunately, I discovered computer science very late in my college career (senior fall to be accurate) and felt that I had so much I wanted to learn and so little time. My favorite part of Horizons has been the speaker series. Aside from being able to work collaboratively on different projects every day (which has been awesome), we are able to talk to experts in different fields within computer science.

3. What does a successful version of you look like on graduation day? How about two years out of college?

I have already graduated!! Two years from now, I will (hopefully) have a job that fulfills me, be surrounded by my wonderful family and friends that I adore and maybe even go on regular runs that I keep telling myself to go on today.

4. Tell us what is one thing you believe is true that most people disagree with (the Peter Thiel question)…

I believe that gender is a social construct that persists through cultures of performativity and heteronormativity.

5. What has been the most important turning point / realization in your life so far?

College was a time where I challenged myself to redefine what I wanted to do with my life — namely, what will I do to leave my mark on this world? I started on the pre-medicine track, but realized that, although I was (and still am) compelled to help others and impact lives, becoming a doctor was not the only way to enact meaningful change. In fact, one of the greatest turning points in my life came from redefining what it means to enact change. To me, that meant learning to love wholeheartedly. One of the greatest realizations in my life was that of the significance of doing the important work of love in this world. I believe we can change the world by loving it (whether we define that to be our homes, our offices, our local communities, or beyond) and in doing so, drive us towards fulfilling work and rewarding friendships. In other words, search for what makes your heart sing, make that your passion and you will change the world.

6. What motivates you to work hard every day?

My father is probably one of the greatest influences in my life. He was always the first person to arrive at work and the last person to leave. I don’t ever remember him taking a sick day off work. I think of him as a superhero in a sense for having the courage to enter a new country without speaking the language and holding steadfast onto his dreams and turning them into a reality, despite the odds. He always challenged me to never say “no” to myself, in terms of pursuing my goals. So in a way, through both his lived experiences and his words of encouragement, he always inspired me (and still does) to challenge myself and chase my biggest dreams. I think to myself, if my dad can do it and still be able to put a smile on his face at the end of the day, I can most definitely work hard on whatever it is that I am doing today.

7. If you were going to be famous, what would it be for?

Being a positive force and advocate.

8. What is your advice to incoming freshmen to make the most out of their time in college?

Take as many classes as you can in different fields of interest. Specifically, try and take one computer science course and a philosophy course at some point early on in your undergraduate career. Surround yourself with interesting and passionate friends that challenge you to think more critically.

Thank you for reading.

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