Community engagement reaps career rewards

October 09, 2015

Even before she convocates this fall, Carmen Tang has landed her dream job.

The computer engineering graduand is now working as a software developer at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, WA.

It’s a stellar outcome for Tang, but landing a dream gig at one of the world’s most dynamic and successful corporations didn’t happen by chance.

It stemmed from the potent mix of dedication, engagement and passion that characterized Tang’s time at SFU, which included executive roles in the Women in Computing Science (WICS) and Women in Engineering Science (WEG) student groups.

Her Microsoft journey began in her first year at SFU. A Gordon M. Shrum entrance scholarship winner, she volunteered at a student-led job fair where she met a Microsoft representative (an SFU alumnus) who interviewed her on the spot.

Next thing, Tang was boarding a Seattle-bound plane for an all-expenses-paid tour of the software giant’s Redmond campus. The following winter, she was accepted into Explore Microsoft—a 12-week summer internship program for promising undergraduate students. She was one of only 100 students selected from across North America, and the first from SFU.

In addition to a VPR U SRA-funded research internship and three Microsoft internships, Tang carved out time for her other passions: community involvement and mentorship. She was part of the executive team for the Try/CATCH conference, which aims to inspire high school girls to get involved in computer science and engineering.

She also mentored dozens of students through the TechConnect program that helps new computing science and engineering science students transition from high school to university.

A trailblazer, Tang is also passionate about passing the torch. As the first SFU Microsoft Intern Ambassador, she increased awareness of the company’s internship programs by organizing campus events, information sessions, guest talks and hackathons, including the SFU International Women’s Hackathon.

“I find getting involved and giving back to the community really rewarding,” she says.

“I have been able to meet so many amazing people along the way, each with their own individual stories and fields of expertise. Helping students, volunteering, meeting lots of remarkable professors—it has all made my life as a student so much more colourful and enjoyable.”