This week, we had an inspiring conversation with Emma Pan, the winner of our “Code Your Resume” competition. The competition was created by and sponsored by Akamai, the company that’s the heart of the internet.
This competition challenged applicants to use their coding skills to create an interactive resume. For Emma’s $2,000 winning submission, she created an online, interactive portfolio to show her past projects and skills!
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
My name is Emma Pan, and I’m a rising Junior at Olin College of Engineering. Based on what I’ve learned from internships, I am hoping to pursue an MBA after graduation, and find a career that combines business experience with my software/systems engineering background. At school, I am the Outreach Coordinator for our chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and am involved in Public Interest Tech, student government, theater (directing and acting), music, and fire arts.
What feeling(s) did you have when you found out you were the winner of Akamai’s Competition?
I was really surprised when you reached out to me! I had somewhat forgotten about my submission, and had a long day at work, so the good news really made my week.
What inspired you for your submission?
When I found out about the competition, I had already started my online resume. I saw the competition as a good incentive to finish my website, and I’m really glad that I did!
What do you think makes your submission stand out? Can you share what went through your mind as you worked on the submission?
When designing my online resume, I didn’t want it to just make a copy of my paper resume. I wanted to take advantage of the ~online~ format, by making it really visual, interactive, and fun. I chose a colorful background for the landing page, wrote an enthusiastic blurb to introduce myself, and made tiles that mimic storybook pages for displaying my projects.
Additionally, as a software engineer, I found that I had many tools already made at my disposal. Experimenting with what I knew about web development, I found an animation library called Animate.css, and added dynamic transitions for many elements, to make them more whimsical. Because most of my projects involve computers, I have already made websites for sharing some of them, and I was able to link to those websites in my online resume. Having already created the content for those websites, I was able to put my online resume together much faster than if I had tried to write everything from scratch.
Ultimately, I’m pretty happy with my online resume/project portfolio, and intend to continue updating it and letting it evolve in the future.
What did you learn throughout the submission process — about yourself, your inspiration, the community or the industry?
My submission process was rather self-centered, because my online resume was about advocating for, well, me. I found that I wanted to make something that felt genuine to me, and let others get an idea of my personality. I am a big fan of books, and art, and I think that influenced some of the design choices that I made, making the website more cohesive. I found that I really liked being able to work my creative energy into the coding process, because coding can oftentimes be very straightforward while in school. I also found that I was able to convey a lot more information in my online resume than in my paper one, which was pretty exciting. The less-formal format allowed me to add things like art, design, and animation, which I had forgotten were assets as well.
What did you learn about Akamai and the meaning behind their competition?
I learned that Akamai is a content delivery network that values high security and good service. I also learned that it is a company close to home that is looking for software engineers, and that they likely value being able to see/interact with someone’s projects and experiences online.
What do you think about ScholarJet’s approach to using online competitions as a way to get hired and win money to pay off your student loans?
I am a big fan of this approach, and hope to see more competitions coming from ScholarJet in the future! I was happy to be able to use my skills as a software engineer to get a scholarship, and I am glad to see that other ScholarJet competitions are diversifying towards other skill-sets as well.
With your hard work, talents and skills how are you looking to create a better future?
I want to work with people, for the people, and enjoy the work that I am doing. This could mean a very broad range of possibilities! On a more concrete level, I want to help foster a sense of community wherever I end up, and get to know the people around me. I don’t want to work in a black box. I want to know why I’m doing what I’m doing, and find out what my work is contributing to a larger cause. And, I want that cause to be something that I strongly believe in. So far, I have found the medical device industry and the renewable energy industry to be really compelling, though the impact that a company is making interests me more than the technical industry.
What are two pieces of advice you have for future students who are looking to participate in ScholarJet competitions?
If you’re on the fence about submitting something for a competition but aren’t sure if it fits the criteria or is ‘good enough’, just do it! You won’t know what will happen unless you do. And, don’t be afraid to make your submission say something about yourself, because that can help make it unique, which stands out.
If you could have lunch with any person in this world, who would it be and why?
Be warned, I answer this question differently every time! This time, it’s Jennifer Lee, Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios. I would ask about what it’s like to be an executive as a woman in a male-dominated industry, and ask what Disney Animation is planning next 🙂