Photo by Joe A. Mendoza/CSU Photography
Calvin Tai has learned that success begins with courage and self discipline.
Seven years ago, the computer engineering senior said goodbye to his home in Malaysia and stepped into the unknown. It was the beginning of a transformative journey to find his passion – and create a new life with his family in the United States.
Tai graduates from Colorado State University this month with dual bachelor’s degrees in computer engineering and computer science. Soon, he will start his dream job with tech giant Meta, formerly known as Facebook, where he will get paid to do his favorite thing: coding.
Tai’s path was not easy. As a new immigrant enrolled in a tough major during a global pandemic, he had to summon courage to stay motivated. “I never gave up,” said Tai.
“Calvin is exceptionally creative, analytical and resourceful,” said Professor Sudeep Pasricha, Tai’s advisor for his senior design project on vehicle cybersecurity.
Tai’s self-discipline extends beyond academics. He has been playing competitive table tennis since age nine, and he founded CSU’s first-ever Table Tennis Club.
Tai will share the commencement stage with his younger brother, Aaron, who is also graduating this semester with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
In their own words
Q. What experiences in your life or at CSU have required you to demonstrate courage?
Completing an ECE (electrical and computer engineering) degree during a pandemic is not an easy feat. I faced a lot of obstacles and had to muster the courage to believe in myself. I developed self discipline to work independently and efficiently. I love to learn, and I’m fascinated with technology – it’s the closest thing to magic. I spent a lot of my free time researching concepts online to expand my knowledge. When times were hard, I always convinced myself to pull through. This helped not only in computer engineering but also in my computer science major where continuous learning is essential.
“When times were hard, I always convinced myself to pull through. This helped not only in computer engineering but also in my computer science major where continuous learning is essential.”
Q. What was the most rewarding part of your CSU experience?
My experience has been transformative. I’ve found that the meaning of life lies in taking responsibility for my actions to achieve my own definition of success. I struggled for years to find my passion. I discovered my love for coding at CSU, and it inspired me to change my major from biomedical engineering to computer engineering and computer science. I also connected with a great community of friends through my courses and table tennis.
Q. What is your advice to incoming students at CSU?
A lot of people struggle in computer engineering and often drop out. There are times that will be difficult and stressful, but my advice is to never give up. College is different from high school, and self motivation is essential. Take it one step at a time to build confidence. It’s worth it in the end. For me, every day is now enjoyable because I found my passion.