A Summer of Leading Women

Emma Anderson (CC ‘19)

Upon joining Theta, our older sisters — who hold our founders and alumnus in high esteem — impart on us a wealth of knowledge about the history of Theta. We learn about all of the incredible accomplishments of our fellow Thetas and quickly become inspired by these courageous “leading women.”

“Leading Women” becomes a reality when you take a look at the astonishingly accomplished women around you. With sisters this summer writing news content for Global Citizen, researching cutting edge scientific discoveries, doing cyber security at GRA Quantum, and working with Nobel laureates—it’s suddenly obvious why Thetas are leading women. Sacrificing sleeping in and sunny beach days for the 9-to-5 office life, these women have internships that inspire them and the people around them to be their best selves and reach for success.

It’s nearly impossible to highlight all of the exciting opportunities Theta women are taking advantage of this summer, but here’s a look at just a few.

Tessa Hurr: Microsoft 

If it were possible to be an old hand at Microsoft project management, rising junior Tessa Hurr would be considered one. Hurr worked at Microsoft in San Francisco last summer as an Explore Intern, and at the end of the summer when they extended an offer for this summer she did not hesitate, realizing she still “has so much to learn” from the company.

This summer she is a program management intern in Data Group for the Tiger Team, which is a subgroup within the “Cloud” and “Enterprise” division of Microsoft. Hurr’s project is to help the Tiger Team define an engagement strategy in social media, technical forums, and thereby improve their online presence. Ultimately, this data is used to understand how content is received so that future session and engagement can be tailored accordingly.

“Even though Microsoft is a huge company, I feel like the work I am doing will have an impact,” Hurr said. “It’s really exciting to hear about everything Microsoft is working on and all the changes that are happening.”

In addition to integrating with team members on projects, Microsoft emphasizes a good “work-life balance” so other employees often suggest things to do in the surrounding area—like a sunset picnic in Golden Gardens Park after work with rising senior and California native, Cameron Statton. 

Ayah Hassan: Ecole Polytechnique

Blending research and travel, rising junior Ayah Hassan is spending the summer in Paris with a research internship at Ecole Polytechnique, a prestigious French institution.

“My goal for this summer was to do something abroad since I missed my opportunity to study abroad,” Hassan said. “I started just looking for different opportunities related to my field in a few cities, with Paris being my top choice.”

After looking into the University, Hassan applied and was accepted into a research position doing computational chemistry in an effort to understand the way sulfate pollutants bond with water droplets in the air with the intent of removing sulfate from the air, thereby purifying it.  

“It was a dream to spend time abroad, so this internship is challenging yet so unbelievably fulfilling,” Hassan said. “I’ve been going into Paris daily spending time at cafes and watching life pass before me. I’ve walked about the Seine, spent time sitting with a view of the Eiffel Tower, enjoyed delicious croissant and gateau, and made friendships exploring Parisian night life that will last a lifetime.”  

Claire Fry: Rio Olympics

For rising sophomore, Claire Fry, international traveling and the Olympics is a family affair. This summer, for the month of August she will be a “runner” for NBC, as she will “run” around to different camera crews to help the broadcasting process go smoothly—a job that her mom worked at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, her aunt worked in the 1992 Barcelona Games, and her cousin performed in the 2000 Sydney Games.

After applying and interviewing last fall, she will leave for Rio the last week of July and head to the Olympic Village.

“I’m looking forward to witnessing people achieve their highest potential in the games; seeing the behind-the-scenes of such a historic, internationally-viewed event; and I’m looking forward to meeting interesting people from literally all over the world,” Fry said.

While Fry said she is not nervous, she emphasizes the importance of understanding the context of these Olympics. “Brazil has undergone a lot of stress recently with political turmoil, wealth inequality, and Zika,” Fry says. “I’m going to do everything I can to stay safe, but also stay educated about the long-term impact of a relatively short event.”

Dominique Gordon: Pinterest

What’s the best part of working at Pinterest as an engineering intern? The job and the snacks. As a rising sophomore, Dominique Gordon scored the position of engineering intern at the popular young company after receiving an email from Columbia and filling out an application. After interviewing and passing a coding test, she was informed a week later that she had the job.

“Day to day I can come in around 10 AM, but I usually stay until 8pm so it’s still long days,” Gordon said. “I eat all my meals here because they’re free and actually really good. They also have a million snacks.”

Pinterest, which was founded only in 2010, has around 1,000 employees at their headquarters in San Francisco. However, it still feels like a “tight-knit community,” Gordon said. Gordon lives in corporate housing with three other interns and acknowledges that most of the employees are on the younger side, and that they definitely make you feel at home.

“So far I’m loving it all,” Gordon said.