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Spotlight

Chip Huyen

BS, MS ’18
Computer Science
Story originally published on Aug 2021
I’m from a small village in Vietnam. Stanford University was a distant dream.

I never thought I would end up here. The first time I applied, I was rejected. I decided to travel instead. I had very little money at the time, so I started writing to make money. I spent three years traveling and writing stories about people I met on the road. I ended up publishing two books in the process. After this adventure I applied to Stanford again, and I was accepted. 

As an international student, I was always afraid of public speaking because I worried that nobody would understand my accent. I never learned English properly, only through speaking to people as I traveled. ENGR103: Public Speaking helped alleviate this fear. The lecturer and the TAs do a thoughtful job creating an environment where it feels safe and normal to make mistakes. I came to see that I wasn’t the only person who was nervous about public speaking, and that there are many techniques I could employ to improve. Practicing in this setting gave me the confidence to speak publicly in classes and in social situations.

My personal experience has taught me that information is always more compelling when it’s shared as a story. In my current work, I’m combining my storytelling skills with the logical frameworks I’m learning as an engineering student.

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