DeVV Diaries: Miranda Chao, UI/UX Intern
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m 22, just graduated from Brown with a double major in computer science and visual arts, and I’m doing UI/UX here this summer. I identify as queer/nonbinary and am from just outside of NYC. My favorite TV show is the X-Files, I have a very silly black cat named Luna, and I won a senior superlative this year for most likely to fall asleep on the main green 🙂
How did you find out about VV’s internship program?
Activision Blizzard came to my school’s career fair. I was wearing a skirt covered in safety pins, which I probably should have saved for another day. I stood in line forever to get the chance to talk to the recruiters and I’m really glad I did! I’ve wanted to work in games since high school.
What has your experience at VV been like so far?
Really fantastic! Honestly better than I could have ever anticipated. I was always nervous about working at a game studio, afraid that it wouldn’t be what I hoped it was, but that hasn’t been a problem at all. The people here are welcoming and full of encouragement and experience and I’m working on a project that’s very important to me both personally and professionally. I wouldn’t have been able to do that if not for the support and guidance I’ve gotten from the employees here. There’s a degree of fear that I have going into tech and games in general – it’s an incredibly male dominated field, and the culture can be toxic. At VV, I’ve never felt unwelcome, which is truly lovely.
What’s your favorite aspect of working at VV?
I started playing Destiny right as I started working here, in part to do some research on the feel of the game so I could properly understand how it could be improved. I ended up getting WAY too into it. Finished all of the campaigns and available DLC less than a month after I started. As a result…now I’m working on a game that I love, and I can actually play a part in making the game better. That’s really incredible to me. The shared enthusiasm here about video games in general is fantastic. Playing games was something I always did alone, and never really talked about because no one else I was around was into them. Here, everyone is excited to talk about the stuff I love.
Do you have any advice for a younger student looking to attain an internship?
I hope you’re not nervous. You don’t have to be nervous. Think about what you love, or even just what you’d tolerate – you’re young, you’re not stuck in the first job you ever get. They’re about to ask me what my dream job is in a couple questions but I honestly don’t know what I want to be doing for the rest of my life – yet, I’m doing fine (so far, at least) so you don’t have to feel like this is a one and done type deal. Don’t freeze out of fear, either. Apply for things even if you don’t think you’re qualified and give it your best. At worst, nothing changes, and at best, you got a job! Nice.
Talk to people about what their lives are like – find out their experiences, their interests, tell them about yours. Passion comes across. I think what helped me was realizing that it was alright if I didn’t have an internship – as a result I started looking for opportunities because I found them genuinely interesting, not because I thought I needed them.
Has there been anyone at VV who has been a mentor?
Yes, yes, absolutely – my manager Rob Sandy has been incredible, and same for my “buddy” (intern mentor) Kara Zisa. I bother them all the time with questions and they have been excellent, giving me advice and feedback and sharing their experiences with me. Also there’s a women’s group here that meets occasionally, led by Danielle Morales. Celia Hodent was here for a masterclass and had a conversation with us. Hearing industry professionals talk about their experiences and perspectives as women in gaming was awesome. It really means a lot to be able to see people you identify with in positions of leadership and influence.
What’s your dream job?
Haha, I mentioned this in the other internship advice question. I have so many things that I want to be able to include in my life and it’s hard to say what my focus is, right now. Whatever I end up doing long-term, what’s most important to me is that I’ll be able to help tell stories and share experiences that inspire and excite others. Mix some art and technology and writing in there and it’s got everything I love. Stories are immersive, and the medium through which they’re told can make them even more so. Creating that emotional connection is something that’s really important to me.
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