Place of Residence: New York/California
Position: Student at Stanford University
Studies: Science, Technology, and Societies
Please describe a day in your life
Currently, I am a senior at Stanford, so my daily life involves much of the normal college student activities. I’m taking some fun classes this quarter since I finished most of my required classes to graduate. I’m taking advanced acting, queer cinema around the world, a philosophy class, and an interdisciplinary class called AI-Art-Activism. So, I’m mostly going to classes, doing work with friends, meeting new people, and randomly doing tech influencer activities like speaking at different conferences or guest lecturing in different classes on campus.
What is your favorite subject in University?
Honestly, I don’t have a favorite subject. I chose Stanford because no matter what major you choose, no matter what department you are in, students here can take any class across any department. So the classes that I’ve liked have been in the law school, medical school, and business school. I love just taking all kinds of random classes and learning just about anything that I find fascinating at the moment.
With your studies, what can you do after you finish? In which sector of technology could you work?
My official major is Science, Technology, and Societies in the School of Engineering. Many people go into engineering, consulting, or entrepreneurship with this major. I see myself going down the entrepreneurial route. I love making things. I love creating products and coming up with ideas, and I think entrepreneurship is an excellent route for me since I want to build something and share it with the world.
However, I think we can do anything we put on our minds. No matter what our major is. No matter what we’re expected to do, if we want to do something, we can. So one message I want to give to young people is that even if you’re majoring in engineering, you don’t have to be an engineer. Even if you’re majoring in political science, you can still be an engineer. You can do anything. There are no rules on how you should live your life. That’s how I feel, and I hope other people can feel that way too.
How do you manage to combine work, studies, your social life and shootings for “My unorthodox life“?
In college, I try to take a manageable workload. Sometimes, I take time off from school so I can film. Because I take time off usually, it isn’t too crazy. It’s all really manageable. I also like waking up early. Something about me is that no matter what time I go to sleep, I always wake up around 8 am. It’s annoying when I go out and go to sleep super late. But usually, it’s beneficial having this internal clock because it definitely makes me more productive.
I’m the kind of person who does a lot of work in the morning when everybody is sleeping. I also am the kind of person who likes always to be doing things. So being busy, to me, is actually super fun. When I have nothing to do and when I’m bored, I always try to fill in that time with things to do, something to learn, somewhere to be, or a person to see. It is intense, that’s for sure. But that’s just who I am.
Why did you choose technology? Is it something that intrigued you from a very young age?
I always like making things. From a young age, I was always building things with boxes and running outside. I used to spend a lot of time on YouTube typing in “how to” and hitting the spacebar. I learned how to make origami, how to breakdance, and how to play guitar.
When I was 13, I YouTubed “how to make an app,” just like I’ve previously YouTubed many other things. I didn’t know what coding was at the time. In the first app I built, I actually didn’t understand any lines of the code. I just followed along with different YouTube videos and eventually managed to piece an app together. After everyone in my school started using my app, I realized what an impact technology could have on people. I realize the impact I can have on people using technology. It was empowering to see, it was freeing, and I wanted to do more. Technology, to me, is a superpower. It allows anyone from any community to build anything, and that’s powerful.
How has technology changed the way we study in universities? Do you think people at your age prefer to study online, hybrid or in person?
I think these past two years have shown us how technology can affect our education. The ability to learn online is a powerful one. I believe technology has immensely changed the way we study at universities. Being able to go paperless by using iPads legitimately, for example, is really cool. It’s hard to generalize how people like to learn at my age. I think it’s very personal. Personally, I like to learn online a lot of the time because I’m used to it. Because of my childhood education, getting into Stanford required me to do a lot of studying on my own. Therefore, when Stanford was online, I just took my most challenging classes, and to me, it was a lot more manageable. But many of my friends did not feel that way. So I really think it’s a preference.
What is your opinion about NFTs, you are mentioning on your Instagram profile, that you create them for fun. Is it a trend that will fade away, or it will stay?
I think NFTs are super cool. They give artists the chance to sell original digital pieces, and that’s powerful. I like making digital art, so for me, making NFTs followed naturally. It’s hard to say if NFTs are a trend or if they are here to stay. I believe in its value, giving validity and originality to any digital asset. Therefore, I hope NFTs are here to stay. However, there is really no way to predict where it will go with any new technology!
Are you self-taught on building apps?
I was first self-taught, but when I was 16, I attended Make School’s Summer App Development Program. It was the first time I was learning how to code in a classroom setting, and it was super fun. After that summer, I ended up loving it so much that I finished high school early and moved to San Francisco to participate in Make School’s Product College.
What was your first app that you built?
The first app I made is called Ateres. The high school I went to was called Ateres, and I made the app for my school. It pretty much had calendars and schedules for the students. It was pretty basic, but many people in my school found it helpful!
Can you explain briefly what are emerging technologies and why should people study them?
Emerging technologies are new technologies that have the capabilities of making a significant impact on our society. They can be literally anything, from quantum computing, and mixed reality technology, to Nanophotonics. People should study them because of their potential for impact! Also, because it is fun! It’s fun to learn something so frontier that the greatest minds on earth are still figuring out how these technologies work. It’s kind of cool to be working on projects and furthering the understanding of our society in these new industries.
Have you joined Metaverse? If yes, is something you recommend people doing? If no, why not?
There is not a metaverse to join. Different companies have created digital worlds, and those worlds classify as metaverses. Some are made in Web3, meaning they are decentralized, and built on the blockchain, and others are still metaverses but are not decentralized, like Roblox and Meta. I think it is fun to check out different worlds people are creating. It may not be for everyone, though. It is just another way to interact on the internet, with people and with experiences. We are definitely in the early days of making metaverses. There are not that many out there, and there is room for improvement.
What are the three characteristics you have that make you successful in tech?
The most important characteristic I have that helps me be successful in tech is the Growth Mindset. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s a new way to think about what is possible for a person to do. The way that is done is simple. It is a shift in a person’s language when describing themselves. Instead of saying I can’t code, you say, “I do not know how to code yet.” Never say you can’t do anything. Always use the word yet, or say, “I do not know how to do this right now, but maybe I will be able to soon.” It is that mindset shift that allows you to believe in yourself. Believing in yourself is step one to being successful period.
Another characteristic is that I am okay with being lost. A lot of the time, I do not know what I’m doing when I code or when I learn something new. I don’t let that scare me. I let that excite me. I decide to embrace uncertainty and to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. That is the place we learn the most. The third characteristic is that I cold email frequently. I always reach out to people in the space that I think is really cool, and I ask to get coffee. You will be surprised that people genuinely want to help and support the younger generation. So I encourage you all to cold email people you admire, reach out on LinkedIn, and you will be surprised by how many responses you get.
What is the most difficult thing you had to deal with during your career or studies?
Being a woman in tech is not easy. I’ve had to prove myself way more than my male peers have. I have been questioned, disbelieved, harassed, and not taken seriously. It can be very frustrating at times. But I don’t let it get to me. We need more women and people of color in the tech space to change the stereotype. We need them to be loud and open the doors for others. That is what I hope to do. So, although being a woman in this space has not always been easy, I do not care. I’m not going anywhere.
What do you wish yourself with respect to your career?
I care deeply about preventing human trafficking. My hope for myself is to one day make an impact on it. Therefore, I hope that somehow my career will lead me to combat human trafficking. Change policy, awareness, improve technologies, or do something. Whether that means I become president and change policies to help or make technology to catch perpetrators, this is what I care about. This is the direction I want my career to go in.
What is your next goal?
My next goal is to finish a new NFT Collection I am working on called ‘Cuteri.’ It is a collection of ‘Cute Uteruses’ that I have designed. Each NFT costs about $50, and all the proceeds will go to different abortion organizations. We are launching the collection in June, so I am excited to share this collection with the world and raise money to help pro-choice organizations.
If you could say something to your younger self what would it be?
Practice self-compassion. Be nicer to yourself. You are incredible. You do not need to be like other people; look like other people. You get to decide what it means to be a woman, what it means to be beautiful, and what it means to be healthy. Listen to yourself. Trust yourself.
Where would you like to travel next?
I want to travel and explore the world. I actually bought a one-way ticket to Rome at the start of this summer. I set a budget for myself, and I plan to see how long it lasts! I am meeting people along the way, but I am excited to travel on my own. My goals are to learn and to be spontaneous. I am super excited!
Do you have a person who influences or motivates you?
My mom! She motivates me to follow my heart and explore the world. She inspires me to have good morals and to be a kind person. My family is my crew. They are my people. They motivate me to just be me.
Would you consider mentoring young people?
Definitely! I already do! I am there for a lot of first-years at Stanford. I love to help girls especially get into tech and understand their value. I have been lucky to have amazing mentors, and I definitely want to pass that along to young women who want to learn and grow.
What tips would you give to young ladies who are starting or finishing University? How could they become young entrepreneurs in technology? Give us 5-10 tips.
Miriam Haart is giving tips on how to become a young entrepreneur in technology: