I am a senior at Stanford University pursuing a computer science degree with a focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Currently, I am working with Professor Stefano Ermon to research how satellite imagery can be used to predict economic and environmental conditions in regions of the world where such data is sparse. In my free time, I am always looking for opportunities to use my computer science skills for social good, through organizations such as Code the Change.

Outside of academia, I enjoy playing piano and cello, and I am a member of the Stanford Symphony Orchestra. Originally from Southern California, I also love the outdoors, from camping in the Sierra Nevadas to playing sand volleyball at the beach.

Inspiration

Coding is weird but fun. That was my reaction when I wrote my first piece of code in fourth grade, a simple HTML webpage that read, “This is Christopher Yeh’s website!” Looking back, what attracted me to computer science was the adrenaline rush of developing programs. I was no longer just a consumer, but also a creator. I could build a website and introduce myself to the rest of the world. I could write a calculator program to play Pacman during math class. At that time, my dreams were huge, and the first steps seemed so simple.

Today, my affinity for coding still exists, but my experiences at Stanford have instilled in me an even stronger source of motivation: to use my computer science skills to help the world in a meaningful way. This year, I am leading Code the Change, a student organization that that partners with non-profits and government agencies to work on programming projects with real-world social impact. As a freshman, I helped build an online visualization tool to help doctors in Bangladesh track the spread of cholera. Last year, I led a team to work with the U.S. Copyright Office to build an online platform that reduces photo copyright infringement by significantly simplifying the process of purchasing legal photo licenses.

Despite my efforts thus far, every day at Stanford I am reminded of just how little knowledge I really know and how many global problems there are waiting to be solved. Yet, my thirst for problem solving is exactly what drives me day in and day out to excel in my classes. Someday, what I learn about data mining will help me fight human trafficking, what I learn about optimization will create energy-efficient energy grids, and what I learn about computer vision will help self-driving cars prevent fatal car accidents. My dreams remain huge, and even though the steps now are no longer so easy, I am rising to this challenge.