Student Alumni Spotlight: Amy Huynh - Dreams for Schools
Dreams for Schools STEAM Scholarship Award presented by Neudesic – Winter 2022
March 15, 2022

Student Alumni Spotlight: Amy Huynh

We are always interested to hear what our for students and alumni have been doing since they participated in our program, and to see how being exposed to Computer Science and Technology has influenced their lives and career paths.

Amy Huynh is a former AppJam+ student, Dreams for Schools Intern, and STEAM Mentor. She recently graduated with a double major in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and is currently working as a Operations Systems Engineering at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover.
Amy teaching Web Development online during the summer of 2021.

What does it mean to you to be a woman in the STEAM field?  

To me, being a woman in STEAM means staying curious and persevering. I think it is really important to see the intersectionality of work in STEAM and to continue to see how our work is able to impact and uplift people or make their lives easier. I hope to be able to make that same impact with the future generation of students as they engage with STEAM early on and to support them to continue to stay in the field. It is especially important to me to be able to help students who are BIPOC, underrepresented, or will be the first in their family to pursue higher education because these students may have less access to resources and opportunities for mentorship. Representation and mentorship matter and it is important to support the next generation of students and to share our backgrounds, experiences, and lessons learned.

How has DFS contributed to where you are now? 

As a middle school student, Dreams for Schools allowed me to learn more about technical skills in computer science and helped me to gain the confidence and support to continue pursuing my interest in STEAM. As an intern during my freshman year of college, I was able to give back to the community that helped me and to learn what it looks like to run a nonprofit organization. I was especially impressed and inspired to see how much Dreams for Schools has grown in their impact across Orange County, CA with school district partnerships since its inaugural year. As a program mentor during my senior year of college, I was able to learn more about website development and to gain important communication and teaching skills. I am grateful for the opportunity to have gone full circle with Dreams for Schools and to grow as a student, teacher, and volunteer to my local community. Nithin and Audrey have especially been supportive of my interests in aerospace ever since I started college and continue to send words of encouragement.

Did being in our program influence your career path or choice? 

As a former Dreams for Schools student, operations intern, and program mentor, I have been able to see the incredible impact that the program has had on me and all of the students it has served. I was in the inaugural year of Dreams for Schools' AppJam+ program when I was in 8th grade. Being part of AppJam+ showed me what I am capable of at a young age, especially as a girl in STEAM. I was able to learn what it was like to collaborate with students and how to technically implement all of the creative ideas we had for our math maze game. The AppJam+ program helped to push me to continue my interests in STEAM classes throughout high school, where I eventually chose to study mechanical and aerospace engineering at UC Irvine. It was also really helpful to hear my program mentor’s experiences as a college student and to hear their support and encouragement of me at an early age. 

Future Pursuits: 

In fall 2022, Amy will be attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Technology and Policy Program as an NSF GRFP Fellow. She will join the Multifunctional Metamaterials Group and the Human Systems lab to research sustainable textiles for spacesuit design. She hopes to pursue a dual Master’s degree in AeroAstro, and eventually a PhD in the same field. She also hopes to pursue research and a career in STEAM that is an intersection of her interests in aerospace, fashion, climate change, and policy.