Our 4th Edinburgh profile is Lisa Xie. Definitely the bubbliest of the bunch, Lisa was entirely in charge of showing Beth around the city while she was there last November - including gems like a Frankenstein-themed restaurant! We were fascinated by Lisa’s global background that spans Germany, Taiwan, Canada and the U.K and to hear about what brought her into computer science in the first place–creativity!
Tell us a little about you.
Heya, I’m Lisa. I’m studying Computer Science with a minor in Management Science at the University of Edinburgh in my second year. I grew up in Germany, but attended High School in Canada and Taiwan. I dropped out of my first degree of International Studies in the Netherlands after two months, as I couldn’t find any enjoyment at all in the courses I took and then found my calling when starting my degree in Computer Science.
Tell us about what you’re wearing.
The first outfit is a combination of different red and pink tones. The pink hoodie is from Only, a white loose mandarin-style shirt from Forever 21 underneath and a color-blocked pink and purple scarf from my mother’s shop. The skirt is a floral print from H&M. My shoes are oxford style heels from a thrift shop.
For my second outfit I got the turtleneck knit dress from Zara. For one of the pictures I stole Harry’s overcoat.
Any advice for a young person thinking about getting into a STEM field?
You don’t have to be a prodigy in Math to be able to make it in a STEM degree. You will be fine even if you haven’t started coding when you’re 12. You will be fine even if you haven’t taken a radio apart out and managed to put it back together when you’re just a child.
If you’re interested in science and want to learn about the world around you STEM is for you. It’s a very creative field - Computer Science especially - even though it’s really not known for this.
(Can we just make this paragraph into a poster and put it up in every HS in the world? KThx)
What would you say is the project you’ve done that you’re proudest of?
I am teaching an evening course for girls who are students at my university but don’t study Computer Science. It’s the most rewarding time of my week when I get to see how excited the girls get about simple things like getting a website to display their names.
We’re on the second session of the course now and we had a lot of girls continue on from the first one we taught about WebDev to Python. A lot of them even brought friends to the new session which was really humbling to me.
Are there any misconceptions about STEM fields that you’d like to clear up?
After being in a Humanities degree (for a short time I admit) and then changing to Computer Science I found that one has much more creative freedom in CS. Knowing how to program is really enabling in our digital world. It allows you to reach people and promote causes you’re passionate about.
Quite a few people I’ve met in my degree are proper nerds and love technology - however they’re always happy to explain and they’ve never made me feel stupid because I didn’t know as much as them about a topic. However, most have hobbies that lie outside technology so you don’t have to worry about not being able to find someone who shares your interest. Not all of us are complete technology geeks.
Anything else you’d like to share with the audience?
I thought dropping out of a degree might be one of the worst decisions in my life. However, it turned out be the best thing that could happen to me. If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing now you probably won’t 10 years down the line.
I chose International Studies because I wasn’t sure what to do and it was a popular choice among my peers so I assumed it would be safest to go with the flow. Pretty early into my studies, I realized there were few people I could help if I stayed on this degree even in the long run. Technology however is becoming more and more important every day - there are great charity projects out there which use technology to try to raise people out of poverty by giving them access to the internet and tech skills.
What is the best way (if any) for people to follow you on social media?
You will find my Facebook profile here - feel free to shoot me a message! My Snapchat handle is ‘rawkward’ I try to add interesting stories on there!
Taiwan, Canada, Germany, The Netherlands and now Edinburgh - what a crazy traveller! We think dropping out of a degree takes a lot of courage, and it’s awesome to see where it’s taken Lisa (in life, not just geographically :P). We can’t thank Lisa enough for taking the time to talk to us about creativity in STEM. That is the kind of diversity we need to ensure that the next generation of products we are building are truly inclusive and global, just like the lovely people we feature here on Fibonacci Sequins.
Dona & Beth