She spent the summer interning at Stripe, a software firm whose platform allows businesses to accept payments both online and via mobile apps. Her task was to integrate a new abstraction for modifying database objects into existing code.
“I went through the code to find patterns and write scripts that I could run which would allow me to make the necessary fixes,” she said. “It was a big project and it’s ongoing. There was no way to finish it before the end of the summer, but I got to develop systems that laid the foundation.”
Zhong said her experience was everything she was led to believe it would be.
“It was amazing!” she said. “Meeting everyone — the other fellows, people at Stripe and KPCB — was definitely the best part.”
She was one of three fellows who worked at Stripe, and said that she liked having authority over her project.
“They treat you like an employee, so you are doing real work, not intern tasks,” said Zhong. “It really changed what I thought about doing after graduation. Before this fellowship, I imagined I’d go work for a large corporation. But after this, I’m really starting to consider working at smaller companies and maybe even a start-up.”
Zhong also enjoyed the lectures that were hosted by start-up CEOs and the venture capital executives at Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers. John Doerr ’73, ’74, a partner at KPCB, gave a white board talk, which Zhong said was informative.
She also said that skills she learned in her computer science classes were helpful to her as she went about working on her Stripe project, leading her to be efficient with her time. And while Zhong is no stranger to startups or entrepreneurship, having grown up with a father who started a business with a friend, she said her experience in the Fellows program taught her this:
“I now know if I want to start a business, I can.”