UW Blueprint
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UW Blueprint

Member Spotlight: Project Lead Anne Chung

UW Blueprint is a student-run club that provides top-tier tech for non-profit organizations. Founded at the University of Waterloo in 2016, we could not have provided strong partnerships with NPOs without the dedication, passion, and time of our members. Throughout this term, we’ll be spotlighting different members and teams that have left a tremendous impact on Blueprint as well as the projects they’ve worked on.

Tell us about yourself and your background with Blueprint!

Hi, I’m Anne, a 4th-year Computer Science student at UW! This is my second term on Blueprint. Last term, I was a project developer for the Community Fridge project, and this term I’m a project lead for Focus on Nature! My current team is working on building a registration platform for youth nature camps 🍃

I heard of Blueprint in my first year and had always wanted to join to get more involved with non-profit work. I always felt like I could be doing something more meaningful with my free time and Blueprint has really been the perfect opportunity to improve my technical skills while building something for a good cause with other like-minded students.

I kept getting rejected for a few years before finally making it to the interview stage last term :’) I’m so glad that I decided to apply again since it’s definitely been a highlight of the last year for me!

Anne and the Focus on Nature Team in 2022

Could you tell us about your role with Blueprint?

I’m a project lead for Focus on Nature this term! I like to think of myself as a middle-man in between the project manager and the developers — I take the features that our PM and designers have planned out to our developer team and guide discussions on how these features can be implemented, then break up the work into tasks and assign them to each team member. My role also involves doing code reviews and overseeing project timelines and developer progress! I also attend weekly meetings between our PM Anushka and our client to stay updated on the latest discussions and provide any technical input if needed.

What has Blueprint taught you, and how has it helped you grow as a developer?

I think I’ve grown a lot as a developer since joining Blueprint! Although I was considered to be a senior developer when I first joined because of my term number (3B!) I still felt as though I had a lot to improve communication-wise — I found I was still a bit uncomfortable with explaining technical concepts or contributing ideas/solutions during technical discussions at work. I feel like Blueprint was an awesome way to gain more experience in that regard since you’re working with other students in a more comfortable environment, and after spending 6 hours/week pair programming and participating in group discussions/debugging sessions I became a lot more comfortable with my ability to communicate! This has actually helped me tremendously during interviews and I don’t get nearly as nervous as I used to.

After doing project lead for half a term now I think my critical thinking skills have improved a lot — basically every meeting you’re asked questions about implementation or design and you have to judge on the spot what the best decision is and present your choice to your team members. I also think my leadership skills have improved; this is my first time leading a team in any way, but I’m a lot more confident in my abilities now and know that I’d be fine with leading 3 hour meetings for any team I may potentially work with in the future.

I was super nervous when I was starting out and had a lot of doubts (how could someone inexperienced like me lead anyone?!) but if anyone is feeling the same way I was, I would say you need to just go for it — Blueprint is the best place I can think of for you to gain these experiences, and your team will be understanding and a huge pillar of support the whole way :)

Anne and the Community Fridge team in 2021

What is your favourite part of Blueprint?

My favourite part of Blueprint is definitely the people! It’s honestly the most fun time spending a few hours a week catching up with your team, coding/debugging together, and playing games. It really amazes me how hardworking, motivated, and smart the people I work alongside are — I’ve learned so much from the other developers and it feels really nice to be a part of a team where everyone dedicates hard work and time and is committed to the success of the project (unlike most other group projects >:D).

Anne and the Community Fridge team in 2021

Moving forward, what are your plans and goals for the future?

For the rest of 2022, I’ll be doing my last two co-ops — spending the summer in New York and the fall in Seattle! After two years of being locked in the house, I’m so excited to go out and explore the world again. No matter where I am though, Blueprint is always in my blueprint — I’ll be staying on as a project lead for Focus on Nature next term!

Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

I was bald until I was 4.

What can we catch you doing outside of school/work?

Eating and sleeping?

Tell us about your favourite memory with Blueprint!

The Focus on Nature team plays games together every week, they’re a lot of fun and I actually look forward to our work sessions for this :)

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