Be positive and you will shatter your most outlandish dreams - Rason Irvin
There is only one statement that comes to mind when you consider everything that this Trending Leader has accomplished and all by the age of 18 - The Future Looks Bright.
Rason Irvin of Katy, Texas is an outstanding young professional that is a poised, talented, and hard working student. The only attribute that out shines his natural leadership qualities, is his impressive level of performance in the classroom, in the office and throughout his developmental opportunities.
There is no doubt that Rason has the potential to meet and exceed his professional goals of becoming a Chief Technology Officer of a major corporation or becoming a successful entrepreneur. His age does not define him as he has already demonstrated success through delivering a multi-million dollar cost savings project for the Uber Eats, placing 2nd in the Bayou Classic Biztech Challenge (developed an innovative business model for a magnetic piston engine) and also leading an over 100+ member student organization as President of the Association of Computer Machinery (ACM). Rason has excelled at each of these while also serving a student advocate by partnering with Fortune 500 companies to extend career opportunities to his STEM peer group. #OUTSTANDING!
Rason Irvin is an 18-year-old junior Computer Science major at THE Southern University A&M College where he serves as President of the Association of Computer Machinery (ACM) chapter. Through this organization, he has collaborated with some amazing companies - such as Intuit, Tesla, Bloomberg, and more - to assist students along their journey to full-time/internship opportunities in tech. Rason has a passion for creating, and outside of his educational extracurricular activities, he has been blessed with opportunities at Uber as a Software Engineering Intern and currently at The Walt Disney Company - Movies Anywhere, as a Product Management Intern. He has also recently embarked on a personal passion project, Your World Podcast, an outlet for individuals to hear timeless advice from individuals that hold positions that others can see themselves in. Rason's hope is to one day, through his work, change the world, and this will definitely not be the last time you hear from him!
Q: From being a full-time student majoring in Computer Science to mentoring other students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) to developing partnerships with companies like Tesla and Intuit, what inspired you to pursue Your World Podcast?
Rason: Through my experiences, whether at my University, among friends, or at work, I have found that there are apparent gaps between one person and another. This could be economic status, work experience, education level, race, or even day-to-day experiences. Everyone is different and this notion is obvious; however, there are a few lessons and words of wisdom that should transcend any differentiator. For me, if it wasn’t for other individuals and these evident truths, I would not be half the person I am today. Being blessed to have encountered these people that have shaped me, I was inspired to try to do the same and help bridge the gap for others. I do this by providing bite-sized information to help others achieve exactly what they want in their world.
Q: You have aspirations of becoming a Chief Technology Officer of a major corporation or becoming a successful entrepreneur. What are you currently doing to prepare yourself to reach those goals?
Rason: Yes! I hope to speak this into existence. Of course, telling myself “I want to be an executive at a major corporation or a successful entrepreneur” isn’t going to get me there. As a result, I work toward this overarching goal every day. Because I have this very general goal, I had to narrow it down first - as everyone should. I do this by splitting it into my short and long term goals. Currently, I do two things to reach this goal: network and personal advancement. Networking is one’s net worth as many have heard before and I try to connect with someone that inspires me weekly. I try to learn from them and implement some of their principles that apply to me in my life. Secondly, I tell myself every year on my birthday how will last year me be better than next year me. This is where goals come back into focus and it’s important for them to be specific and tangible. My short-term goal is to graduate Summa Cum Laude at my university. My long-term goal is to, as mentioned, become an executive of my own corporation or an established one. This forces me to continuously learn something new in my field every single day.
Q: What has been the most difficult challenge you’ve had to overcome with becoming a STEM professional?
Rason: The world of STEM is so vast. As a result, I have a multitude of challenges I can talk about. In this case, I will focus on one that was very influential to me. Going into my first internship at Uber, I did not know what to expect. I was a proficient programmer and thought that was enough. Evidently, I began the role and quickly realized that this alone was not enough. An overconsuming thought that began to haunt me was that I did not know anything as it pertained to my projects and could not even write a unit test for one field. What I failed to realize at that time was that I had to learn one will never know how to do everything and should never expect that they will. Be open to always learn new skills or technologies. And ALWAYS ask questions even if to you they sound dumb, they never are. After finally coming to the conclusion, I learned Python, Go, and JSON, how to use multiple platforms such as Jira, Git, Kibana, and more. I was able to launch my project globally during my last weeks contributing hundreds of lines of code in UberEats repositories.
Q: We believe that our personal expressions should translate into how we operate as business and community and leaders. We call it “Bringing Your Whole Self” into any situation. How do you ensure that you are authentic to yourself and your work?
Rason: I honestly struggled with this through my work. In today’s social media-driven society, I feel that it’s incredibly difficult for individuals to be authentic in their personal life or work when constantly thinking “How will others view what I do/say?”’ or “Will I be canceled for this?”. For me, I realized I will never appease everyone with my work or personal actions and I’m okay with that. I can only be the best me I can be. Yes, that is very basic but realize everyone provides their unique perspective and their differences make them the amazing individuals they are so be you. I ensure this by being nothing more than myself through my podcast, social media, and work. I do not create a facade, but rather, simply focus on being myself.
Q: Your experiences have taken you from serving as the President of ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) to now, a Product Management Intern with The Walt Disney Company. What advice would you give to other young professionals or students looking to take their career or education to the next level?
Rason: I love this question! My advice is to find a mentor, an individual in your desired field that has demonstrated a level of success at a high level. Build this relationship and learn as much as you can from them. Doing this will touch every aspect of your life and allow you to learn from their mistakes rather than having to face them alone. Once you do that, find another one, and another, and so on.
Q: At Re.engineer, we believe in challenging the status quo. Tell us about the most impactful challenge you have solved.
Rason: My personal status quo was that following my High School graduation I needed to get into a “top school” to live my dream of progressing in tech. This made me work hard graduating high school in 3 years with a 4.3 GPA and pursue a Computer Science degree at the University of Texas at Austin. To be blunt, I got rejected. That presented the most impactful challenge for me in my life so far. It made me think I wasn’t good enough. “If I can’t even get into the college I want, how do I expect to be an executive?” I thought. In hindsight, I am incredibly grateful for that outcome. It forced me to accept rejection and not only accept it but rather, see it as an opportunity. This inherent difference in perspective is what I learned. Doing so is what propelled me to work harder and achieve more than I ever could have imagined for my college experience. Be positive and you will shatter your most outlandish dreams.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
Rason: Wow! I was hoping I didn’t get this question. For me, it’s the future. Something that is so hard to ignore, but makes me feel like every action no matter how big or small isn’t good enough. I constantly struggle trying to change and not dwell on what could happen, but enjoy the process and treasure the present. Because if I can do that, I strongly believe that I can produce the very future I dream of.
Your World Podcast: www.yourworldpodcast.com