Meet Luna Yang, our scuba diving and wildlife photography enthusiast, and a Software Engineer from our Perception team.
As we build a diverse culture at Aurora, we are committed to supporting and inspiring women to develop their careers and transform the world of technology.
In our series, Women of Aurora, we share the personal and professional journeys of the women of Aurora. In our next installment, we are excited to introduce Luna Yang, a Software Engineer on our Perception team.
Read on to learn about Luna’s bold moves, from switching majors to moving across the world in pursuit of the next big thing. She also has a penchant for adventure sports.
Tell us about your background.
Luna: My story begins in my home country of China where I was studying to be an actuary. Actuaries determine the premiums one should pay for certain life insurance policies. Essentially, their job is to predict an individual’s probability of dying in a given year. Morbid, I know! After three years of studying actuarial science and interning at an actuarial firm, I concluded the field wasn’t for me. It’s a well-developed industry and I was discouraged by the pace of innovation. I craved for something more cutting-edge and exciting. So, I asked myself, “What is the next big thing?”
To answer this question, I reached out to numerous professionals and strangers, in hopes of learning about their careers. A few of them actually responded and agreed to speak with me! Additionally, I attended various online classes. These two approaches ultimately led me to Machine Learning. I spoke with dozens of domain experts and my excitement grew. I was impressed by the field’s rapid development. I knew this was going to be hot. This was the next big thing.
My next step was to find a new major that would bring me closer to machine learning. Thus, three years into college, I changed my major from actuarial science to statistics. (There is significant overlap between stats and machine learning on the theoretical front.) After graduating, I applied to several masters programs in the US. I eventually committed to Carnegie Mellon University’s Master of Science in Robotics program. I packed my bags and made my way to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.