#WomeninSTEM · #WomeninTech · inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Michelle Chen

“The best protection any woman can have … is courage.” – Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
My name is Michelle, and I’m currently a junior at Duke majoring in CS. I’m really interested in the intersection between technology and social impact; to that end, I co-direct HackDuke, the nation’s largest collegiate hackathon addressing social good. We bring in engineers and high impact non-profits and sponsors to create innovative products and projects, and put on various initiatives throughout the year that emphasize cross-disciplinary creation and exploration within the Duke developer community. I’ve also got a pretty wide array of interests outside of tech—I’ll be interning in investment banking for this upcoming summer of 2017, and I’m considering picking up a Women’s Studies minor for fun.

A fun fact about me is that the bottom half of my left front tooth is fake (it’s a long story).

What # would define your life journey?

Favorite website / app:
I use Inbox by Google on the daily; it’s intuitive and helps me turn my emails into a to do list.

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
Yuzhou Lee, a good friend of mine, the previous director of HackDuke, and the co-founder of Farmshots is one of my biggest inspirations. One piece of advice he gave me that has stuck with me to this day is to “trust the process and enjoy the journey”, which is something I think of every time I need to maintain perspective.

Song that makes you want to dance:
I’ve been listening to a lot of Møme lately; I’m a pretty terrible dancer but I’d get down to his song Cosmopolitan.

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
I think women especially deal with a fear of not being good/smart/qualified enough to try new projects/classes/extracurricular/jobs; I for one still doubt myself and my qualifications. I’m still working on overcoming this self-doubt and fear of failure but I think the key is to try to reframe failures as learning experiences that contribute to your wealth of knowledge.

Ideal Job:
I really enjoy the challenge of running organizations, managing people, and making impactful decisions for an organization; I hope to be in some sort of upper level management role at a company in in 10 years but don’t have a specific organization (or even industry) in mind. I’d also love to help build out a startup from the ground up on the finance/business side.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Take chances, lead without fear of being “too pushy”, doubt less and say yes more, speak up, and have a little faith that things will all work out.

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