Meet Your Summer 2020 Peer Mentors!

ARLEY SASSON

Why I want to be a mentor: I have benefited greatly from having mentors during my career, I want to help in making the program a success.
My background: I am originally from Mexico and I live with my wife and two kids in New York City. I graduated from Penn undergrad and my entire career has been in finance (Emerging Markets bond trading). I have always been fascinated by computer science and the role that it plays in the development of different industries (finance in particular), and I have been very happy to be able to apply many of the things I have learned in the program in my career.
Classes Taken: 591-596
Cohort: Spring 2019
Availability: Saturday, 11am-12pm ET

COLIN MCLAUGHLIN

Why I want to be a mentor: Community building is important and an extra effort needs to be considered in an online environment. Being a part of mentoring gives an opportunity to pay it forward, to help keep building that community.
My background:
If one is coming from a mostly humanities or qualitative background, going into a full quantitative program can be a bit intimidating. Making that transition is both possible and possible to do well. I’d be happy to discuss thoughts over that transition, the program and classes in general, or any questions about being a TA in the program.
Classes Taken:
591-595
Cohort:
Summer 2019
Availability:
Tuesday, 9-10am ET & Thursday, 7pm-8pm ET

CRYRUS CHENG

Why I want to be a mentor: Connect with fellow students and provide guidance to current and prospective students, particularly those from a non-tech background.
My background: My background is actuary and corporate finance (M&A) specializing in finance services. I graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BBA (07’). I decided to enroll in MCIT Online because after 12 years working in traditional finance, I wanted to shift my career focus towards fintech and venture capital. During my study of MCIT Online, I relocated from Hong Kong to Sydney so the digital setting of MCIT Online works very well for me.
Classes Taken:
591-594
Cohort:
Spring 2019
Availability:
Tuesday, 9-10am ET & Thursday, 7pm-8pm ET

MAGGIE MOLEN

Why I want to be a mentor: I enjoy connecting with my MCIT Online peers, and I want to help foster a supportive community for newer students.
My background: Before MCIT, I had absolutely no computer science experience. In undergrad, I studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE), and after school, I worked for a couple years in non-technical product management. I decided to apply for MCIT because I wanted to transition into technical product management, and I’m happy to be on my way towards that goal! This summer, I’m working as a product management intern at an energy tech startup based in South Africa. I’m happy to talk to students about my journey in product management and how to navigate the internship process!
Classes Taken: 591-596, 581
Cohort: Fall 2019
Availability: Tuesday, 5pm-6pm ET

MARTHA BAUMGARTEN

Why I want to be a mentor: I wanted to be a mentor because I fortunately received a lot of guidance and advice from peers in earlier cohorts and I wanted to pay the kindness forward.
My background: I am from Miami, FL and studied history in college. I am currently a social studies teacher. I had very little CS experience prior to starting MCIT other than a few videos. I am happy to talk about what it’s like to jump into a new field, time management, and how to get help when feeling stuck.
Classes Taken: 591, 592, 594, Enrolled: 596
Cohort: Fall 2019
Availability: Tuesday, 9-10am ET & Thursday, 7pm-8pm ET

MELISSA AMAYA

Why I want to be a mentor: Each of us, from time to time, needs support, encouragement, or advice. My enjoyment of this program and the depth of my learning have been greatly increased due to peer interaction. I want to pay that forward.
My background: I’m a Wharton graduate who turned stay-at-home mom for over a decade. I entered this program as one of many steps to relaunch a career that will be both financially rewarding and enjoyable. I balance full-time work at an EdTech company with MCIT while raising (and homeschooling) four children.
Classes Taken: 591-594, Enrolled: 595
Cohort: Spring 2019
Availability: Tuesday, 9-10am ET & Thursday, 7pm-8pm ET

Melissa Amaya

TAHIN MONZOOR

Why I want to be a mentor: So far I have met some incredible people getting accepted into the program and I feel like I have not taken the opportunity to network with the MCIT community as much I wanted to. Having something scheduled like a mentoring commitment will be a structured way for me to network and get to know the bright students being accepted into the program.
My background: I have experience in the financial crime field working as a Data Scientist for the past 3 years. My other interests include painting, video games, synthetic biology (background before CS), and reading! Would love to talk about any of these topics.
Classes Taken: 591-595, Enrolled: 596
Cohort: Summer 2019
Availability: Wednesday, 5pm-6pm ET

TIM CHUNG

Why I want to be a mentor: Countless times I have thought to myself, I am probably the only one not getting it, which typically spirals into doubts about not being cut out for computer science, engineering, or fill in the blank. The reality is those doubts are not unique and we’re all fighting the same battle. There’s a quote I like that goes, “You have to become a fool before you can be a master”. No one likes feeling dumb, but it sure helps when you have people to feel dumb with you!
My background: Before MCIT I was an IT consultant in healthcare. Now, I am a full-time student and TA of 595. I hope to work in data science upon graduating in Dec 2020. Next semester, I will be starting the MS in Analytics at Georgia Tech. I am happy to help with course material, Since I’ve completed all the core courses, I am happy to talk through course material, school/life balance (new dad and somewhat newly wed), or anything else that might be helpful.
Classes Taken: 591-596, Enrolled: 515, 547
Cohort: Fall 2019
Availability: Monday, 9pm-10pm ET

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, 596, Enrolled: 594, 515
Cohort: Spring 2020
Availability: Wednesday, 9:30pm-10:30pm ET

XIAOLU DOU

Why I want to be a mentor: To help new friends get into this program more quickly, and to study from classmates of course.
My background: I am currently working as a senior manager for a big environmental company in their IT department. Before that, I was a founding member of a startup data company when I applied for this program. I got my Ph.D. in Urban Economics at Peking University several years ago and stay working in China every since. I would like to share something about how to deal with the MCIT program, especially without any IT even Science background, and how to deal with classes/connections in mainland China.

Classes Taken: 591, 592, 594
Cohort: Spring 2019
Availability: Sunday, 8am-9am ET

XIAOYU GONG

Why I want to be a mentor: The reason why I want to be a mentor is that I was helped by some students from previous cohorts and therefore I want to continue the generosity to future students.
My background: I am in the financial industry, dealing with derivatives. Before joining the MCIT, I received a master degree in quantitative finance. MCIT is a good program because it trains logical and critical thinking and it helps people become more rigorous.
Classes Taken: 591-594
Cohort: Spring 2019
Availability: Saturday, 9am-10am ET