inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Karen Li

“I think the truth of the matter is, people who end up as ‘first’ don’t actually set out to be first. They set out to do something they love and it just so happens that they are the first to do it.” – Condoleezza Rice

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
View a little video about me here! along with my personal website:

Hi everyone! My name is Karen and I am a second-year Computer Science major at UCLA. Outside of class, I love running, working out, going on food adventures (I actually write Yelp reviews too), listening to and playing music, acting as a mentor and tour guide, and trying new things. Fun fact: I’m actually from Vancouver, Canada!

What # would define your life journey?

Favorite website / app:

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
Someone who inspires me is my mom. She has never pushed me towards any particular path, but instead has always provided a supportive environment for me to grow and develop my own interests and aspirations. Moreover, she is one of the kindest people I know, and someone I know I can always count on for support and guidance. But most importantly, she taught me to always try to improve myself rather than compare myself to others, to seek the silver lining in every situation, and to always stay humble.

Song that makes you want to dance:
I Want You Back by the Jackson Five

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
When I came to UCLA last year, I had absolutely no prior experience with CS. Needless to say, I was pretty intimidated when I stepped into my first computer science class and knew that most of my classmates would have much more experience than me. However, I realized after many nights of poring through the optional textbook and giving all of my effort to my programming projects that I was able to hold my own among such experienced programmers. I definitely struggled in the beginning when everyone else was complaining about how easy the class was and I was still trying to figure out what a “bool” was, but I was soon inspired when I realized that computer science is not merely the act of writing code to solve problems, but an extremely creative process where the code that I write is a physical manifestation of my self-expression, representing the way I visualize and analyze a problem to find a solution. In fact, I feel that the beauty of computer science lies in the fact that there are infinitely many solutions to a particular problem and that every person’s solution will be different from the next person’s since each person has his or her own unique way of thinking.


Ideal Job:
Software engineer involved with artificial intelligence or clean energy.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Attitude is key: always try to see the bright side of everything and never give up on your goals! The beginning of accomplishing any goal is always difficult, but as long as you keep trying your best and maintain an optimistic mindset, you will succeed.

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