Students

Julia Wu is handy with a handbag

The lovely Julia Wu turned out to be the embodiment of graceful elegance when we met her at Microsoft during her internship. She was bubbling over with cool projects to talk about, and we can’t wait for you to read on and see them!

Tell us a little about you.

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I’m a senior at Brown University studying Computer Science and Economics. I’ve interned at Microsoft and at a Brazilian IT firm, and I’m intrigued by technology that can augment the knowledge of people and businesses.

I’m passionate about creating things outside of the classroom – in the past, I’ve shared my rendition of an intelligent handbag with the global CFO of Chanel, and collaborated on a web application that retrieved on-campus events with free food so that my classmates could save time with Ctrl+F “free food” on Brown’s events calendar.

Tell us about what you’re wearing.

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In this first outfit I’m wearing an orange Versace dress that my mother gave me (right, mom?). I love the brightness of its color, and I can create a more or less fancier look depending on the shoes I pair it with. Right now I’m wearing a pair of nude heels by Christian Louboutin, and I appreciate how comfortable and sleek they are. To finish the look, I’m holding a white clutch with shiny jewels.

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I love this chiffon blouse from Forever 21 I’m wearing in my second outfit—I can wear it with shorts, jeans or pencil skirts. I’ve worn it to conferences as well as social outings, and I love the detail on the sleeves. I’m also wearing a pair of navy blue shorts I bought in a small city in China, along with sparkly Versace heels that are actually pretty hard to walk in—I’m not very graceful in them.

How did your style evolve to what it is now?

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My mother is an entrepreneur with her own brand for travel goods. She’s extremely chic and loves dressing fancy with colorful and shiny pieces. She’s a huge fan of classic designers, and we happen to be very similar sizes so we often share clothes – although I’d say that I’m not as bold with the colors and shine as she is.

I like to dress well because it helps me feel more ‘legit’ both in and outside of the office/classroom. I would say that my style is classy and delicate; I sometimes seek inspiration from fashion bloggers Jessica Ricks and Chiara Ferragni. I also love Blake Lively’s style.

Any advice for a young person thinking about getting into a STEM field?

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  • Ask for feedback as much as you can, and don’t let either the constructive or the negative feedback discourage you.
  • Focus on what you want, and stay focused when you’re working towards it. You have to be willing to jump on rocket ships, but also to say no to things that don’t matter as much (because there may be many shiny opportunities).
  • A quote I really like, but not sure who the author is: “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullsh*t story you keep telling yourself.”

What would you say is the project you’ve done that you’re proudest of?

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About a year ago, I began working on an intelligent handbag with a couple other women in tech. I found a wearables hackathon online and thought, “I’ve never heard of this but I’m gonna go.” It was before the sign-ups opened, so I just e-mailed the organizers saying I was going. So one weekend last fall, my teammate and I took a bus to New York City and spent Friday night tinkering with firmware we’ve never touched before and then slept on the floor at the hackathon. The development also led to learning about iOS development, web design, writing business plans and patent applications.

Fast forward a few months, my teammate and I are sleeping on buses to get to Carnegie Mellon University from Brown, in order to pitch as finalists at a venture competition. I’m proud of this project because it helped me get a sense of how challenging and fulfilling it is to build a technical product and take it forward completely independently.

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Wow, we can’t for things like Julia’s handbag to become a reality (we hope they’re half as stylish as the ones she brought with her for our shoot!)

Love always,

Dona & Beth

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