Tracy Chou – Software Engineer and Girl Geek

Stanford, CA

I think deeply about the causes I care about — the one that consumes me most now is that of women in engineering, and the implicit sexism that we still face — because I want to make things better.

chou.tracy1Who are you?

I am a Bay Area geek girl. I am a newly minted software engineer out of Stanford University, where I studied electrical engineering (bachelor’s) and computer science (master’s). I am deeply involved in the Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurship scene, having interned at Google and Facebook and now working at a startup called Quora, and I love the excitement of a place where everything is possible. I want to start my own company someday.

What do you do?

Most of the time, I drink coffee, and I write code.

In addition… I read a lot, because I like to learn. I spend time with friends, because what is most important to me in life is the people around me. I think deeply about the causes I care about — the one that consumes me most now is that of women in engineering, and the implicit sexism that we still face — because I want to make things better.

Why are you proud to be of Taiwanese heritage?

I am second-generation Taiwanese American — born and raised in the States. I actually never identified as Taiwanese American until I arrived at college; I started being interested in Taiwanese (pop) culture halfway through high school, but in a predominantly white school setting I felt more Asian, or at most Chinese, than anything else in the context of race. When I arrived at Stanford, though, I was promptly ushered by my “big sibs” into the Taiwanese Cultural Society. That’s when I started to see myself as Taiwanese.

Before then, I didn’t know to be proud of my Taiwanese heritage. I know to be proud now — Taiwan is the land of my parents and it still feels like home to me. I am proud of all the immensely talented people who have come from Taiwan and made a huge impact on our world, in fields as diverse as music (Jay Chou), science (Steven Chu), and technology (Jerry Yang, Kaifu Lee, Jenhsun Huang).

What does the future of Taiwanese America look like to you?

What I hope for is that Taiwanese Americans will identify themselves as such, and learn to be proud of their identity. I hope that future generations will stay in touch with the culture of their parents and grandparents, and blend the past in with the present.

Any additional information you would like to share?

Check out Quora! I spend most of my waking hours working on or at least thinking about Quora; such is the startup life.

Quora is a question-and-answer site created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it. What amazes me about it is the intensely high-quality discussions on a wide variety of topics, ranging from startups to science to food. I’d love to get more questions and answers going about Taiwan and Taiwanese people! For example, I’ve tried to kickstart a thread here: http://www.quora.com/Why-should-people-of-Taiwanese-heritage-mark-themselves-as-Taiwanese-on-the-census-as-opposed-to-Chinese — it’s a great way to raise awareness of relevant issues.

The site is www.quora.com — If you need an invite, message me at tracy at quora dot com with your email address and I’ll send one your way!

chou.tracy3

3 Responses to “Tracy Chou – Software Engineer and Girl Geek”

  1. Alison

    I just logged into Quora. Seems like a great website! Keep up the good work, you seem like an extraordinary woman.

  2. Lelanie

    Hi, I am a graduating senior student , taking up Computer Science from Philippines, I am very inspired with programmers esp. with Girls, because I am a girl too.I want to be a successful like you in the future. ;)

  3. Hi Tracy! Congrats on all of your success! My 12 year old daughter just attended a local “Girls Who Code Club” information meeting and we are excited to see how it goes. Thanks for sharing about your story! p.s. We love Quara! Keep up the fantastic work!

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