Fifteen years ago, while pursuing my undergraduate degree at the University of North Dakota, I was first sponsored by Intel to play the PC game I loved. I traveled the world with my team, who were like family to me, which was an absolute dream come true for any young person who grows up playing games. Yet I soon realized I could not financially sustain a life through gaming alone, and I began to wonder how I could find a new direction.
At a tournament sponsored by Intel, I found that new direction that would change my life forever. At that tournament, we stayed with a teammate’s godfather who, when I asked what he would do differently if he was my age, told me he would learn Chinese. I decided to try a Mandarin class when I returned to school the next semester, and the language completely fascinated me. In it, I found my new purpose. To have a chance at gaining any level of fluency, I knew I needed to give up gaming, despite it being my identity and a main source of pride. I sold my gaming PC and went to study in Beijing.
After ten years and an early career working with businesses in the U.S. and China, my next step was to pursue an MBA at the University of Michigan. There again I found that Intel, a company that had already touched my life so significantly, was recruiting for a business rotational program. I set my sights on winning that internship, worked hard to gain the technical acumen necessary to succeed, and had the great fortune to go to Santa Clara that summer. During my internship, I worked on Intel’s diversity and inclusion initiative called #HACKHARASSMENT, where our team created an algorithm that could detect harassment online. While working on that project, I was constantly driven by the idea that online harassment could be reduced and that someday I could enjoy playing games together with my children without the fear of exposing them to some of the negative elements of current gaming culture.
This past year I joined Intel full-time and spent my first rotation in CCG working on Core i9 strategy for the mobile client platforms (MCP) group. Now I have just begun my next rotation joining SMG China, working for the PRC country manager on a project centered on gaming and eSports strategy. No other organization or company has affected my life as much as Intel, and without it I would not be who I am today. Having the ability to combine my two greatest passions, gaming and Chinese, is a dream come true. At no other company would my story be possible, yet here at Intel I am reminded every single day that anything and everything is possible.