Saturday, January 28, 2023

A path to technology: from China to Silicon Valley

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Zhu says she always saw the tech field as her destiny. The daughter of two professors, she was raised in China in a fiercely competitive family. When she was 12, her dad was a visiting professor in the US and told stories about the innovation he saw in Silicon Valley. Named one of the most influential women in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times in 2017 and by Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2018, she is now a Distinguished Career Institute Fellow at Stanford. 

“My mother always told me, ‘You only have monovision. You need to work twice as hard.’ I always really worked hard. It became a habit,” says Zhu, whose eyes were corrected eight years ago. She is grateful “beyond words” for her experience at the Institute. “I integrated the coursework and the knowledge into my work style, but the greatest impact on me was MIT’s rigorous spirit,” she says, adding she desired MIT so much she skipped her honeymoon to pay the tuition.

After living in 39 locations in 13 years, Zhu has settled down in the Bay Area. When she’s not working, she speed-hikes 30 miles a week and spends time with local MIT classmates. She lives with her immediate family, her golden retriever Pokee, her mother-in-law, and her parents.

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