Kristen Ma

Hometown: Briarcliff Manor, NY

Q: What organizations and groups were you part of NYU Tandon and how did they contribute to your experience here?

A: For the first three years of my time at NYU Tandon, I commuted to school. I became a Commuter Assistant after my freshman year because I knew first-hand how challenging it was to be a commuter at a school where most students live on campus.

I was also active in SOEciety, a program that encouraged participants to be catalysts for social change. It pulled together students from engineering and technical backgrounds to think about the impact they had as scientists and how that could affect communities in a social aspect. SOEciety contributed greatly to my experience at NYU Tandon because it helped give purpose to what I was studying. I hadn’t always known I wanted to study engineering, and SOEciety broadened my scope of thinking beyond just getting good grades to get a degree and led me to consider what kind of legacy I wanted to leave behind and what I could give back to my community and the people around me.

Q: What academic projects did you work on and what classes influenced you most?

A: I didn't always know I wanted to study Computer Engineering. I switched my major three times before I decided. I did, however, chose to take introductory programming and engineering classes for fun even when they weren't required for me at the time. As a Computer Engineer, my focus was split between the Computer Science and Engineering Department and the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department – drastically different experiences. The CSE department is larger, and I found a great community of students who were passionate about what they studied and applying it outside of an academic environment. On the other hand, the ECE department is much smaller, and I was able to form deeper relationships with my peers and my professors over the years.

As a senior, I spent two semesters working with a group of three others on our senior design project. It was a cryptocurrency tracking web-based application that assembles data from multiple cryptocurrency exchanges and compiles it all onto a single interface to facilitate market viewing and trading.

During my time at Tandon, I had to work hard to accomplish the goals I set for myself, and now that I've graduated, I have the confidence to create, develop, program, and design in ways I never thought I'd be able to.

Q: Why did you choose NYU Tandon?

A: To be completely honest, I chose NYU Tandon because I come from a family of alumni. I didn't know exactly what I wanted to study when I graduated from high school, so I applied. While my origin story isn't the most compelling one, I'll tell you why I stayed. I stayed because I met professors, advisors, and classmates who helped me and supported me in finding my way. They helped me when I was struggling in my courses. They helped me finalize a major, and they helped shape and mold me during the most formative years of my life. I'm truly grateful I chose NYU Tandon because I wouldn't be who I am or where I'm at today without the programs, the people, the opportunities, and the experiences I had here.

Q: What types of internships did you do?

A: While at NYU Tandon, I had the opportunity to intern for two consecutive summers at Thomson Reuters. I worked under the Technical Account Management team in their Financial and Risk Department and served as a liaison between the development team and the marketing team. I developed proof-of-concept applications that assisted in providing high-level demos for Thomson Reuters technology and showcased them to clients, explaining the benefits to the FinTech industry