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Three Questions with an Alum: Emily Wu ’13

Emily Wu ’13 enrolled at Greenhills starting in high school, and quickly found her people through participating in the National Ocean Science Bowl, music program, and JV tennis and volleyball teams. She shares how the school’s close-knit community inspired her to grow beyond her comfort zone and how calculated risk-taking can be beneficial both to your professional life and rewarding in itself.

Who are some of the Greenhills faculty who especially impacted you as a student?
Ben Cohen pulled me into a lot of incredible music opportunities, including playing with professional musicians and pushing me to try things that I wouldn’t have been brave enough to do myself. Deano Smith was always so encouraging—he provided a space for us to learn about a topic we might not cover in school and was really good at making science an enjoyable experience. And Mark Randolph truly changed the way I thought about literature, reading, and the English language. They all demonstrated their belief in me and showed how I could do things I didn’t think possible.

What motivates you today?
After Greenhills, I attended Swarthmore College, where I majored in psychology and minored in computer science. My current software engineering manager role at a pharma startup called Formation Bio requires me to use my Greenhills training to keep learning and growing, especially as our focus has pivoted to incorporate the latest technology available. Since tech is still pretty male dominated, it’s also important to me to serve as a mentor and resource for other women in the field. As the chair of the company’s women’s ERG (employee resource group), I help to advocate for women to support each other, learn from each other, take risks, and make opportunities for ourselves.

Any advice for recent Greenhills graduates and young professionals?
Make sure to carve out time to pursue your hobbies, or find out what those interests are. It’s really important to nurture the sides of you that don’t get to shine when you’re in constant hustle mode. For me it’s pottery – I started wheel throwing and hand building functional pieces about a year ago, and I’ve recently been interested in experimenting with glazes. Find the joy!

Saturday, April 24
Open to anyone ages 16 and up. Limited quantities available.
Greenhills is closed for mid-winter break and will return on Tuesday, Feb. 22.

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