Meet Your Spring 2021 Peer Mentors!

STEVE WANG

Why I want to be a mentor: MCIT has proven to be a challenging and exciting journey. Serving as a peer mentor is a great opportunity for me to help others along that journey.
My background: I’m an attorney in New York, and I did not take any computer science courses in college. But after seeing how tech is transforming the legal (and every other) industry, I taught myself how to code. So I’m happy to discuss courses, work-life balance, career change, or anything else.
Classes Taken: 591-596, 549, 550
Cohort: Spring 2019

SIDNEY PHO

Why I want to be a mentor: I enjoy connecting with people and passing on my knowledge to others. When I first joined MCIT online, I had so many questions regarding class assignments, onboarding, how to best utilize my time in MCIT to get where I need to go, which classes should I take in what order, and many more! I hope to be an outlet to answer your questions, and a friend that encourages you during tough times.
My background:
I grew up in Dallas, Texas, studied Biology/Chemistry in undergrad, and ultimately worked in healthcare for a few years. However, the idea of being able to act on my ideas (and I had many, some of which were admittedly not-so-bright) and create anything I dreamt of at my fingertips really enticed me. “You don’t know what you really like until you give it a shot”, I thought. I took the leap, and soon afterwards, I received a job at Apple as a technical specialist, and now I’m pursuing the MCIT degree to further my career into software engineering. For me, software is so versatile, and has the ability to create unique moments and drive the best experiences for people — I want to create software that enables people to have those moments as much as possible in their everyday lives, whether that be playing games (Message me on Slack if you’re down for some late-night LoL!), getting medical treatment, or even sending people to other worlds!
Classes Taken:
591, 592, 594, 596, Enrolled: 593
Cohort:
Fall 2019

WING YAN CHAN (Wendy)

Why I want to be a mentor: I want to connect with fellow students by sharing my experience with them. I have learned a lot from the MCIT community and I want to give back if I can.
My background: I grew up in Hong Kong and I have been working as a software engineer in the UK for over 3 years. Before that, I was a liberal arts student. I plan to continue my career in Software Engineering while seeking opportunities in Machine Learning engineering and Ph.D. studies in subjects like AI and Ethics. I would like to share my experience in career switch and job hunting, especially with students based in UK/Europe.
Classes Taken:
591-594, 596
Cohort:
Summer 2019

JACOB BRINLEE

Why I want to be a mentor: I enjoy meeting other members of the MCIT community and I love helping
others when I can!
My background: I did my undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering and worked in industry as a product development engineer for a commercial truck manufacturer. The main reason I applied to the MCIT online program was a passion for programming and data analysis. I was also hoping to learn skills to impact business decisions / direction through data management and analysis. Since joining the program I made the jump to become a full time student, furthered my interest in data science and machine learning, and have been working through a career change.
Classes Taken: 591-594, 596, 515, Enrolled: 595, 550
Cohort: Spring 2020

DIANE HOFFSTETTER

Why I want to be a mentor: As a TA, it is gratifying to be able to help fellow students. I feel that the mentor program would give me more opportunities to do that.
My background: As a TA, it is gratifying to be able to help fellow students. I feel that the mentor program would give me more opportunities to do that. I have a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering (RPI and UC Berkeley). I have 20+ years in the semiconductor industry and am a ‘later in life’ career changer. I have had to balance family with career and currently have 3 kids in college. For fun, I love to hike and knit.
Classes Taken: 591-595, Enrolled: 596, 550
Cohort: Spring 2020

SEAN BIVINS

Why I want to be a mentor: I have benefited from having great mentors in my career, and feel it is only right that I do my part to give back. I also love meeting and learning from new people, so win-win!
My background: I graduated from Penn in 2017 with a finance degree, and am now making a full career change to software. I also recently moved to Mexico City in 2019 to fulfill my dream of living and working in a foreign country. I would be more than happy to talk to students looking to career change (especially finance to tech), relatively recent grads still trying to figure it out, and those interested in making the jump to work and live in another country.
Classes Taken: 591-595, Enrolled: 596, 542
Cohort: Spring 2020

VIRANCHI PATEL

Why I want to be a mentor: Studying while juggling work and other commitments can feel daunting, particularly with the pace and rigor of this program. Fortunately, I’ve found simply talking to fellow students and TAs has gone a long way, especially during moments of feeling completely overwhelmed. I’m very excited to be part of the mentorship program to in turn support other students and augment the already active sense of community that the online MCIT students share.
My background: I grew up in New Zealand and am currently working as a structural engineer in Vancouver, designing tall buildings across the West Coast of Canada and the States. I was drawn into tech a few years ago when pursuing my masters degree in structural and earthquake engineering in California – being in Silicon Valley, almost anything and everything was tech! Shortly after, I worked alongside software engineers to develop a web application capable of performing structural analyses of potentially thousands of buildings in the Netherlands, which was my first real exposure to software development in an industry setting. I’m happy to talk to fellow students from all backgrounds and walks of life!
Classes Taken: 591, 592 (waived), 593, 594, 596, 515, Enrolled: 595, ESE 542
Cohort: Spring 2020

ANGELA WEN

Why I want to be a mentor: I have personally greatly benefited from peer mentorship (formal and informal) throughout my career change over the past few years. I’d like to give back and welcome the spring 2021 students to our community!
My background: I worked for ~5 years in international education before starting MCIT Online and pursuing software engineering. I am taking the degree one course at a time alongside software engineering internships, so far at Lyft, GitHub, Cockroach Labs (a database company), and this summer Stripe. I’ve TAed for 594, 595, and 596; and am one of the founders of MOSA (the MCIT Online Student Association) — I love being involved in the student community!
Classes Taken: 591-596, Enrolled: 550
Cohort: Spring 2019

ANSHUMAN JAIN

Why I want to be a mentor: I have enjoyed my journey in the program so far, and believe that together we can make a strong community by helping each other. I would like to share my experiences with the new students and help them succeed in the program.
My background: I have 15+ years of work experience, mainly in IT project and program management. I did my undergrad studies in civil engineering in India and then moved to the US for work. I plan to continue my carrier in Information technology and advance more into areas of Blockchain, AI & ML. I love photography and I’m one of the founders of MOSA (the MCIT Online Student Association)!
Classes Taken: 591-596, 549, 550
Cohort: Spring 2019

JOHN RIVELLO

Why I want to be a mentor: I have mentored many individuals throughout my career, and I greatly enjoy listening to the challenges they are facing, asking questions, and offering advice when I can or connecting them to others. I am fortunate to have been working in tech for many years, and I want to give back by helping others advance their careers as effectively as possible to meet and exceed their goals.
My background: I have been working as a web developer for over 20 years. My undergraduate degree was in Graphic Design, and my career gradually shifted from part design and part to development work to entirely focused on web development and software engineering. I also did a brief 2+ year stint as a software engineering manager, and fortunately was able to shift back to the individual contributor path when it was clear that was where I wanted my career to go.
Classes Taken: 591-595, 549 Enrolled: 596
Cohort: Spring 2019

FEI HAN

Why I want to be a mentor: I was a mentee last semester and learned tremendously from my mentor. I believe the peer mentor program is a great initiative and I really want to give back to the MCIT community!
My background: I graduated from MIT with a MFin degree back in 2018 and have been working in the fixed income space since then. Prior to MCIT I was a credit analyst and I recently joined a FinTech firm as a quantitative associate. I’m happy to discuss women in STEM, FinTech, work-life balance, etc.
Classes Taken: 591-595
Cohort: Spring 2020

STEVEN BROOKS

Why I want to be a mentor: I’d like to be a mentor to be able to give back to the program, which has been the best educational experience for me in my life. Its really a great thing to find the thing that you’re passionate about and want to do for its own sake (rather than for money or title, although those things are nice as well). I’d like to be able to transmit that passion somehow to hopefully inspire others to see computer science the way I do.
My background: My background is in health research. I have a MPH from Penn where I specialized in Biostatistics and Epidemiology, and I’ve worked as a researcher since 2014 starting at the Hospital at Penn, to a behavioral health-economics research center at the School of Medicine, and now with a pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim. I’m interested in the career-switcher path, but also those paths that don’t necessarily require changing your company. I’m also always trying to find the right balance between family/work/MCIT, as I have a 5-month old daugther, and my family lives in Shanghai, thousands of miles from my hometown outside of Philadelphia. My job is also very demanding, and routinely requires 50 hour weeks and late night meetings. So, I’ve been on the 1 class per semester pace since the beginning.
Classes Taken: 591-596, 547 Enrolled: 550
Cohort: Fall 2019

JOSHUA CHOPRA

Why I want to be a mentor: When I began the MCIT program, I sought out advice from others regarding what classes to take, how to structure my transition towards a career in technology, and general tips for academic success. I would love to be a resource to newcomers or any student in the program who is in a similar position, so I can enrich their MCIT experience and assist them in achieving their goals.
My background: My background is in Finance (business undergraduate degree, Finance major) and I’d be happy to share my experiences from working at start-ups and a middle-market technology-focused Private Equity firm. I’d also be happy to share the details of my overall journey thus far in MCIT, recommendations on electives, balancing course loads, and tips for making the most out of the learning experience. Lastly, I’d be open to discuss my plans post-graduation, and how I am preparing to transition to a role in SWE by leveraging the excellent academic foundations in MCIT and using the skills to build side projects and practice for interviews.
Classes Taken: 591-596, 515, 542 Enrolled: 550
Cohort: Fall 2019