Cherie Lum is a TA for CS 6750: Human-Computer Interaction. Keep reading to learn more about Cherie!
What do you do professionally?
Hi, my name Cherie Lum and I work on an early-stage startup connecting an exclusive group of solo travelers between the U.S. and Europe. I enjoy editing podcast clips after interviewing various travelers, making social media content, and producing new products to connect travelers. A lot of days it is hard because I do not know when I’ll eat, but other days it is nice to be doing something I love.
Why do you TA for OMSCS?
I am a teaching assistant for CS 6750: Human-Computer Interaction because it is the reason why we study technology! It is the special sauce that connects human-centered principles such as psychology or sociology with design and development to meet the needs of humans and systems. It is the perfect class to bridge the gap for those who are career changers like myself (i.e., from sociology to software) or those who have only studied STEM classes and would like to have a more human-centric perspective. If software engineers can better understand how humans think and translate that effectively, the world would be more innovative.
What is your advice for future OMSCS students?
Don’t let anybody tell you that you cannot do something. The OMSCS program is difficult, but it is also possible, and many have "got out". I personally am getting this degree to inspire other women to be in STEM. I once believed the myth that to be an engineer I had to be a man and I didn’t question it because I rarely saw women engineers.
When I realized I could be an engineer, I became a junior software engineer. I struggled and was told I should try another career. I disagreed and worked double hard to get into the OMSCS program. This degree is giving me the foundations I need to tell those who didn’t believe in me that I can do it and inspire others to do the same. Take hard classes you’ll enjoy, find classmates to learn with, and earn a degree that will take you as far as you’ll let it.
Do you recommend OMSCS students meet outside of class?
Yes, a hundred percent. I currently am the OMSCS Student Life Group Atlanta chapter head, and it is a lot of fun! We are a bunch of smart and quirky individuals who get together at least once a month. We have eaten meals together, gone hiking, hit balls at Topgolf, and are planning to go to an escape room. We are located by Georgia Tech, so some of us have participated at on-campus events and met Dr. Joyner in person, which is a cool perk... he is real! But my favorite part about having OMSCS friends outside of class is when you are spending time together, then suddenly realize you must rush home because you haven’t finished your assignment and... it’s almost Sunday night!
OMSCS is currently testing out Student Life groups which are effectively meetup groups in seven major cities in the U.S. and India (Atlanta, Boston, Bangalore, Miami, New York, San Diego, and San Francisco). There will be more cities coming soon. If you are not in one of these cities, keep your eye out for upcoming cities. If you are interested in joining one of the current cities, contact me.
If you cannot get to a Student Life city, I recommend making a virtual group of friends, which is what I did for two semesters when I started OMSCS. My top five tips for this are 1) be consistent by hosting at least once a month, 2) be at the meeting rain or shine, 3) understand your audience and tailor each meeting to that purpose (i.e., social or study), 4) be friendly, and 5) be flexible. And remember, have fun!