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tony vo


Software Engineering

Minor in Biomedical Engineering

University of Calgary

Schulich School of Engineering

why i joined youth advancement society

As a mentor who teaches programming to high school students, I’ve noticed that some of my mentees faced a dilemma on their path after high school. This led them to frantically doing a variety of extracurricular activities in Grade 12 to determine their passion. As a university student, I could understand — compared to high school, there is more freedom in the post-secondary world. From choosing your major to having a more open schedule, the assortment of choices can be overwhelming. As such, I decided to join Youth Advancement Society to help others confidently determine their future.


I decided to go into software engineering due to my long-held fascination with computers. I remember being 5 or 6 years old and exploring around on MapQuest, Microsoft Word, and Starfall on my dad’s computer. A couple of years later, I found a book at the library that taught kids how to make websites. From then on, I was hooked with coding. Although coding is frustrating at times, I enjoy the problem-solving process of creating programs and the “eureka!” moment when you finally figure out how to fix that one bug in your code that’s been bothering you for hours. In addition, I decided to take Biology 20 in high school and was amazed by the many biological processes that happens in the body. As such, it felt natural to take a minor in biomedical engineering since I enjoy learning about the intersection of biology and technology.


  • As of October 3, 2021, I have a Duolingo streak of 1893 days.

  • I started drinking coffee when I was a year old and now I own a French Press, a Hario V60, a moka pot, and a Baratza Encore.

  • I enjoy learning about history, specifically about revolutions, food, and constitutions.

  • In high school, I developed a "sweater protocol" to determine which sweater I would wear on each day of the week to save time in the mornings


  • It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s important to develop a strong work/life balance so that you don’t burn yourself out, which may spiral into far-reaching consequences

  • Try to have friends both in and out of your major. Friends in your major will help you learn the material and can help on your assignments. Friends outside of your major will help you to take your mind off your academic work.

  • If possible, avoid 8 AM classes. No matter how much of a morning person you think you are, taking early classes can be exhausting as the semester progresses.

  • In a group project, figure out the dynamics. To prevent clashes against your teammates, it’s important to get everyone to evaluate their individual skills, then to assign roles based on everyone’s strengths. This will help develop accountability and structure to successfully complete projects.

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