I’ve always spent summers doing something — be it traveling to see family or working (for character development, as I joke). This summer was no exception, although it’s definitely been very different. I planned for three things this summer: to work, to relax, and to have fun. And very excitingly, I accomplished all of them! Definitely one of the most awesome summers it’s been in a while.
This summer, I interned at 222 — a startup backed by Y-Combinator based in Los Angeles seeking to “accelerate chance encounters.” They’re effectively trying to solve the problem of loneliness in society by making meeting in-person fun again.
I worked on the frontend of one of their products intended to reduce friction between 222 and the venues it partners with. Nowhere near as cool as some of the other tech 222 uses, but I gained a lot of valuable experience as a software engineer, such as working with another engineering and considering both webpage performance and security. And the best part is that what I built will actually 100% get used!
On the side, I also worked for Annenberg Media as a multimedia journalist and copy editor — here’s a I wrote on former President Trump’s indictment in the January 6 riots. It was something very different compared to my 9-to-5 job, for sure. I got to work on my written journalism skills for fields outside of tech (more on this in a future blog post, probably), but also editing other people’s work outside of the typical copy editing, which typically leans more grammar- and style-intensive. I think I’m still more interested in writing about tech, though…
Although I was working remotely (quite antithetical to 222’s mission), I really enjoyed being home in Northern Virginia. It was humid, but I was able to go hiking in surpluses of greenery or just hanging out in general with some of my friends from childhood and high school!
I watched a lot of TV with my parents — from baseball to Chinese dramas. Highly, highly recommend watching Hidden Love; I hear it’s on Netflix now! The Nats and the Angels, maybe a little less recommended. Baseball is great and all, but one can only tolerate so much throwing (no pun intended) before giving up. I still ended up watching too much baseball until midnight, though, only to have to wake up the next day for work. Oops.
Still, home affords a lot of opportunities that I don’t get at school. From learning how to cook from my mom (so I don’t starve now that I’m cooking for myself) to mowing the lawn and going to Costco, I have so many things I never fully cherished until I left for my first year of college. This summer was the time to soak it all in, because I likely won’t be at home for such an extended time in my future summers.
I spent two weeks in Boston at Northeastern University in collaboration with Harvard University for a summer program on AI ethics (or nerd summer camp, as we called it). My cohort consisted of 20 people, around half of which came from computer science backgrounds and the other half from philosophy, with other different majors mixed in.
They very consciously put a group of very different yet very similar people together — no two people were from the same school or background. Fun fact, though: I met another girl coming from my hometown! She was a philosophy and psychology double major at a liberal arts college, so still very different experiences compared to me. The configuration that I was set up in with my cohort definitely helped me find out a lot of cool things that I wouldn’t have known beforehand.
For example, I don’t think I quite understood what philosophers did until I started here, but I grew to recognize the importance they have when it comes to a lot of the ethical frameworks surrounding important technologies today. We talked and argued a lot about everything from explainable AI to contexts in which content moderation are necessary and harmful. So much intellectual stimulation every day!
In Boston, I was able to do a lot of solo exploration across the city. I’ve been almost everywhere that the T can take you (and some more!) — feel free to ask me what fun places I’ve been! This was my third time in Boston in the last 18 months, so I’ve seen everything touristy and more. From Beacon Hill to Winthrop Beach, I’ve really enjoyed seeing some really beautiful areas that are quite different from what I’m used to in both the D.C. area and L.A.
Overall, I had a great summer! If you have the chance to meet me in person, I’d love to tell you all about it. I can’t wait to see what adventures I’ll be having soon across L.A.