PKG Social Impact Internships: Tammy Chen (’23)

Tammy Chen (’23|6-14)

My name is Tammy Chen and I am a rising sophomore from NYC. I am majoring in 6-14 (Computer Science, Data Science, and Economics) and potentially a minor in Comparative Media Studies. This summer, I got the opportunity to intern at Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) as a research & data analyst under program manager, Brandon Hadi.

For all my life, I have lived in this concentrated area of Brooklyn (also known as 8th Avenue) filled with newly-arrived immigrants and their first-generation children, like myself. Both my parents came from a secluded area in China where electricity did not exist. Their goal of immigrating to the US was to better their lives, and for their future generations. From a young age, this philosophy was instilled in me. I grew up with the mentality to take nothing for granted and work for every single thing. 

Being at MIT has not only expanded my outlets academically but also culturally. Last semester, I took a class (21G.038 – China in the News: The Untold Stories) where I learned a large amount about not only AAPI but also of the past history. All were incredibly intriguing which lead me to the AAPIP Summer Internship. I was interested in the program because I believed it would be a great opportunity to have an impact on advancing equity and social justice while applying what I have learned thus far technically — and indeed, it has been! 

This summer, I worked with a group of three other interns on a nonprofit landscape project that collected information about AAPI nonprofit organizations all across the country and conducted an analysis on these organizations and how their grantmaking dollars were allocated. I got the opportunity to work with another fellow PKG intern (Ramon Roco ‘22) on this project and we were able to utilize our CS toolkits to optimize data collection using web scraping. 

Aside from being able to use my technical skills to impact this project, the project itself has had a profound impact on how I thought of numbers. Quantitative data. After collecting numbers from scraping, I did not recognize the power it had until after analyzing it. Quantitative data allows for a story to develop. For the first time, numbers weren’t the answers, they possessed a new trait: story-telling. 

Overall, this internship has helped me develop a greater appreciation for experimentation, communication, and impact. Since the project is still at the beginning of its development, it has been extremely thrilling to work on something whose final product is a mystery. Additionally, it has been a great experience working with my supervisors. It is only under their mentorship that I was able to be more open and curious in this internship. All in all, this opportunity has taught me there are ways to utilize my technical skills not only in the classroom but outside as well! 

Interested in a Social Impact Internship? Click here to learn more about our IAP internship opportunities!


Tags: Data & Research, Racial Justice, Social Impact Internships, Social Impact Internships Summer 2021

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