Yun Miao gives this advice to students entering Mills: “Keep an open mind. Try different things. Take classes outside your major. I had the freedom to study a variety of subjects, which ultimately led me to discover my passion.”
Yun grew up in Nanjing, China, but spent a year in the San Francisco Bay Area as a high school exchange student. She decided to return to the Bay Area for college because, she says, “There are so many creative minds here, and the landscape is amazing.” She also wanted to study at a women’s college, and chose Mills.
Initially, she planned on majoring in math, but her faculty advisor encouraged her to explore the curriculum. In her sophomore year, she found herself drawn to computer science and added it as a second major. And she kept on exploring: “I took Introduction to Electronic Music, though I had no prior training in music. I posted my final composition project online on SoundCloud, and people liked it!”
She volunteered at the student newspaper, becoming webmaster for the online edition. “I applied knowledge from classes to the newspaper website and saw I could make things happen,” she says. “It was very empowering and extremely valuable for jump-starting my career.” She also worked as a teaching assistant for her computer science advisor, which “strengthened my knowledge and confidence as a programmer and a mentor.”
The experience Yun gained at Mills opened the door to her first job as a software developer. Later, recommendations from her professors helped her enter Brown University’s highly ranked computer science graduate program; a Mills professor also helped her land her current job at Google.
“My professors supported me every step of the way—even after I graduated,” she says. “But beyond academic and career support, I found social support at Mills: classmates who have become my lifelong friends.”