#WomeninSTEM · #WomeninTech · inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Christina Zhu

Check out Christina’s site at http://cszhu.me!

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
My name is Christina, and I’m currently a senior studying Computer Science at UC Davis! I originally went into college as a business major but switched over to Computer Science in the middle of sophomore year. Currently I am the co-founder of HackDavis, and previously I’ve been a Volunteer Instructor for Girls Who Code, an officer in the CS Club at UC Davis, PennApps Fellow, and a Clarifai Champion!

Fun fact: I can attribute my earliest programming experience to be making web pages for my Neopet on Neopets.

What # would define your life journey?
I think the hashtag that best represents my journey would be #AWelcomeSurprise. Every time something happens, whether it’s going to another hackathon or my code compiles, is super surprising to me.
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Favorite website / app:
I have to say my favorite website right now is ProductHunt!

Song that makes you want to dance:
Feels – Kiiara (Jai Wolf Remix)

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
When I switched into CS, I was already halfway through my college career and I felt my peers were lightyears ahead of me. I was also super shaky in my self-esteem in regards to my coding skills. I would say the moment I overcame that was when I attended my first hackathon, SB Hacks 2015. At that point I had only been a CS major for only a month or two and knew no one else in my major so I had no one to go with. I went to SB Hacks by myself but eventually I found a team and we managed to build a very simple web app — but it was an amazing experience because I realized that there was nothing holding me back except my own insecurities. A year after that, I co-founded HackDavis, and since then I’ve been involved with the hacker community here!
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Ideal Job:
After being an instructor for Girls Who Code, a hackathon director, and a devangelist-in-training at Clarifai Champions, I’ve realized that I really have a passion for spreading the love of code and building cool things. With that being said, I would love to become a developer advocate in the future so I can do that even better! The fact I get to travel the world and meet talented people while teaching them seems like a dream come true for me.
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What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
I would say life begins at the end of your comfort zone. I didn’t realize that computer science could encompass so many of the things that I loved — travel, people, teaching, and building cool things. The switch I made from business to computer science was one of the most stressful jumps of my life. But you know, when it feels scary to jump, then that’s when you jump. Otherwise you stay in the same place your whole life. 🙂

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