Intern Spotlight: Tam

Tam has been the mastermind behind all things design at BridgeYear this summer and we’ve been so lucky to have her do so! As the lead of Team Outreach, Tam helped design our very first logo and has been cultivating our presence on social media. As a member of Team Curriculum, Tam completes the difficult task of condensing tons of information into manageable chunks for students to digest and understand for our “10 Steps to Matriculate” one-page resources. She’s been busy this summer (with more than just BridgeYear too!) – but she still took the time to respond to some questions:

Q: What inspired you to be a BridgeYear intern?

A: I was really inspired at the lengths that EMERGE had gone through to help me and other students go to college. I joined BridgeYear for a chance to give back to students and used what I had learned as an EMERGE Scholar.

Q: Tell us about an “aha” moment – a time when you were most excited about the work you are doing this summer.

Interestingly, one thing most people don’t tell you about the design process is that there is a lot of screaming involved. It could be screaming in happiness, frustration, or belching out Wicked lyrics. One day, I had managed to finally create three circle icons with shading and all. It was like I finally struck gold. Cue scream of elation. Later on, I found out that there was a website with the exact icons I needed – for free. Cue scream of frustration.

Q: What has been the most challenging aspect of your work at BridgeYear?

There’s this motto I have: “Go hard or go home.” Usually, it comes into my mind when I am about to do something that is unadvisable. Like buying $25 worth of yogurt and finishing it in a week. The motto is good when it pushes me to work for 8 hours straight on a piece of artwork. But it’s bad because I end up burning out very easily and it’s hard to pick myself up. I think this summer, I learned that switching from 0 to 100 isn’t very good on the body’s engine. Eventually, you wear out so I’ll take measures not to do that next time.

Q: If you had to give your BridgeYear experience a hashtag, what would that be and why?

#LateNightShowWithTam. I turned into a night owl this summer. Unfortunately, for college, I have to revert back to an early bird. Good thing Cali is two hours ahead.

Q: Other than BridgeYear, what else have you been up to this summer?

PokemonGo has rooted itself inside the self control center of my brain. In other words, my self control has cracked. I have to say. I’ve never seen myself, or the world, act more crazy for the sake of anything before this summer. The most desperate thing I’ve done for this game is probably when there was a Pokemon in my neighbor’s backyard. I, against my crumbling self control, decided not to climb over the fence. My neighbor’s motion-sensored lights prevented me from doing so anyhow. I did the next best thing. I mounted my phone on my selfie stick, climbed on top of my fence in flip flops, and reached as far as I could into my neighbor’s fence, and stayed in that position for about 3 minutes. When it seemed that the Pokemon wasn’t going to show up, I gave up.

Other than that, I’ve immersed myself in the Harry Potter fandom this summer, having finished 5 out of 7 books this summer. I’ve watched the movies so I know what is going to happen and who is going to die. But all it does is make it sadder; the pain that something has been lost still pervades. In a surprising twist, Harry Potter has made me think about death a lot more than my philosophy class has.

Anyone who has had the pleasure of working with Tam this summer would know that her responses are just what we would expect from Tam: Brutally honest, with no qualms about anything. What I have enjoyed the most about working with Tam, however, is how willing and eager she is to try something new. She has always jumped at the opportunity to participate in design thinking interviews, call unresponsive students, or try out a new way of reaching students on social media. She’s been fueled the engine behind so many projects this summer that it’s going to be hard to envision needing to find someone with her skills and energy next summer!



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