Change Maker Diary: Tammy Nguyen
What’s the first thing you did when you woke up this morning?
I checked my phone to see what time it is and I realized I was running SUPER late this morning, so the second thing I did was literally jump out of bed.
What’s one thing you never leave home without?
I have several beverages with me at all times. I know you’re supposed to carry a water bottle, but sometimes I don’t want to drink just water. I had four options today: I had a coffee, a tea, a La Croix, AND my water bottle. I know some people carry snacks, but I like beverage options.
Describe one challenge of your day.
There’s so much going on at CMG and as intern, there’s so much to learn. The biggest challenge for me is my confidence, I think. I am picking up SO many new skills—which is AWESOME—but sometimes when I’m given a task, I am terrified of messing it up. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m here to learn, that I’m a member of this team because I’m capable, and that my supervisors trust me. I’m getting better at it but sometimes I’ll still do a triple check JUST IN CASE.
Describe one success of your day:
I have really enjoyed learning about what CMG does and the impact that CMG makes. I love that I get to participate in so many of the projects and that my feedback and work is valued. Whenever I hear an update about how one of our projects is going well, it feels so cool to have been a small part of that.
What projects have you worked on that your most proud of and why?
I am really proud of the work I’m doing for a campaign in Wisconsin. I clean, match, append, and analyze thousands of lines of data every day and it’s been really fulfilling seeing that work help the campaign’s efforts. Everyone here contributes their strengths to the project and to see the output of our combined work in both the data and the press is really cool.
What is your favorite part of your job?
There are so many things! I do love my standing desk—that is a game changer. Although I’m that annoying person in the office who makes my desk move up and down all day because I can’t make a decision. I also love how easy it was to transition from being a newbie to feeling like one of the team. CMG has such a warm and welcoming environment that’s super flexible to your needs. Like if you need a work block or if you need to take a small break to chat about something random, we understand each other. I especially enjoy that time after our morning meeting where everybody just sits and talks for a bit before we go into coworker phase.
What is your favorite class you took last semester?
My data visualization class was extremely difficult class; it was not fun technically but it was really great. The first half focused on technical methods and different coding languages—some of which I struggled a lot with— but the second half of the class was about theory and design; specifically, how to create a visualization that is approachable for both a general and a specific audience. You know when we see infographics, like different types of charts, in research papers or in newspapers, sometimes they just don’t make sense. The class taught us how to identify when some infographics hide their meaning to get a message across even if the data does or does not reflect otherwise, and how to communicate your message in a way that’s clear and concise. For example, if you’re thinking about it politically, it wouldn’t be the best idea to create a infographic that’s predominantly red for a democratic candidate as it potentially can give off the wrong impression at first glance. It was really neat to learn about the human aspect of these visualizations and how people read them even if they don’t have the technical knowledge to follow what’s going on.
What advice do you have for students who are looking for internships?
Internship searching was really hard, and rejection DOES NOT get easy regardless of how many times it happens. The important thing was to not take it personally. It might feel like you’re not qualified, but the thing is,you are coming at this space as a learner, so fit can be more important than anything else. It’s not that you’re not qualified, it could be that you’re not the right fit—not just for them but for you as well. It’s also important to think outside of the box. For me specifically in a data science specialization, I spent a lot of time researching giant corporations and companies so I’m sad to admit that CMG wasn’t the first internship on my list of possibilities; but coming here and learning about data analytics and its relationship with digital marketing has definitely broadened my scope of understanding of what I can do. If you can’t find the internship of your dreams, you should look outside of the realm of what you want. You could learn more about what you thought you liked or what you thought you wanted to do and you can figure out what you actually like and now want to do.
How do you best manage your student life and your work life?
It’s really difficult to find balance. I’ve learned that my brain can’t work and function constantly and still remain on point. I’ve found spaces where I just play with my dog, find someone to talk to or something to do that allows my brain to do something different, so things can still remain fresh. Regardless of it being a huge block of time that I binge on Netflix or just a 15 minute breather at lunch, finding a way to allow time for my body and brain to do something else, prevents things from feeling really monotonous and painful and allows me to stay organized and on top of things.