10 Questions with Catherina Xu

Associate Product Manager at Google | she/her

Women of Silicon Valley
Mar 23 · 5 min read

“Over the years, my dad has taught me a lot by example — work ethic, mastery, persistence, and how to build a life from scratch.”

Over the years, my dad has taught me a lot by example — work ethic, mastery, persistence, and how to build a life from scratch. He played no small part in inspiring my love of tinkering and the sciences, from helping me build the next-generation dollhouse (consisting of two circuits regulated by brass fasteners) to championing DIY furniture hacks for my first college dorm room.

“I struggled with imposter syndrome in every class.”

I struggled with imposter syndrome in every class. I spent more time at office hours, rewatching lectures, and on problem sets than most of my peers did, for more or less the same result. Over time, I grew more confident about my CS ability. It’s the sum of all the times I worked hard, and got the results I wanted — nailing an interview because I’d studied, landing a customer deal for Google because I’d taken the time to research technical requirements. It’s about attributing success to ability and grit rather than luck, something I’m still working on every day.

“The stereotype is that computer scientists sit in basements alone and don’t come out until 3am. In my experience, that statement is mostly true, except for the ‘alone’ part.”

Between our class final paper and the paper we submitted to ACL, only about 10% of the content remained the same. Over the course of two weeks, we worked day and night (on top of classwork) to build a new LSTM-CNN model, training and testing repeatedly to (in)validate our hypotheses.


Women of Silicon Valley

Celebrating accomplished women and genderqueer folks in tech. The Women of Silicon Valley team consists of Clarissa Bukhan, Lea Coligado, Tamar Nisbett, Jessica Sullivan and Marianne Abreu.

Women of Silicon Valley

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Telling the stories of resilient women & genderqueer techies, especially those of color.

Women of Silicon Valley

Celebrating accomplished women and genderqueer folks in tech. The Women of Silicon Valley team consists of Clarissa Bukhan, Lea Coligado, Tamar Nisbett, Jessica Sullivan and Marianne Abreu.