Social Impact Internships: Gloria Huang (’25)
Hi! I’m Gloria, and I’m a rising sophomore majoring in Finance, with an interest in computer science and entrepreneurship. This past summer I was a Product Manger Intern at BestFit Inc, a startup that increases the retention and graduation rates among historically underrepresented college students by building technologies that connect students with the holistic support they need. As an intern, I helped build a 16-month product roadmap, research prioritization/product frameworks, and completed a job costing analysis.
Stability was not a familiar concept to me growing up. The backdrop of my childhood was constantly changing, shifting from small, rural towns to booming suburbs. My exposure to a variety of socioeconomic neighborhoods allowed me to cultivate a strong sense of empathy from a young age and to better understand how various backgrounds and influences can shape a person’s life.
Many of my early childhood friends came from low-income families, a fact that I became acutely aware of only after moving to an affluent suburb. Through conversations with my new classmates, I saw the ways that money and privilege influence a person’s future trajectory. My new classmates planned careers as doctors, lawyers, and politicians, while my old friends didn’t even dare to dream of going to college. Because of these experiences, I vowed to use my awareness of the disparities that money and education can create by pushing for equitable, rather than equal, experiences for those around me.
It is recognized that the organization of our society’s systems and opportunities—socially, culturally, and politically—leads citizens from minoritized communities to have vastly different experiences and trajectories from their counterparts. Some citizens’ experiences are elevated while others are marginalized. Additionally, the citizens enduring inequitable experiences are least heard in political decision-making, perpetuating inequities.
By listening to and amplifying the voices of those least heard, it is possible to find the roots of the disparities our communities face today and reduce inequities. BestFit plays a role in doing exactly that. BestFit’s mission is to increase the retention and graduation rates among historically underrepresented college students by building technologies that connect students with the holistic support they need, when they need them. BestFit envisions a world where students don’t have to drop out due to non-academic barriers such as basic needs, where colleges and communities have the tools to proactively address student needs, and where income or race do not determine a student’s chances of graduation.
My work as a product manager with BestFit showed me the various facets in which equity is meaningful. When creating AI programs, you have to think about the biases incorporated into machine learning; when coding websites, you must think about accessibility and consider language; and when working with data, you must think about ethics and the power dynamics represented in data. I now try to look at technology through an equitable lens, and this is a lesson I will carry with me for the rest of my career.
Tags: Social Impact Internships, Social Impact Internships Summer 2022, Tech for Good