Skip to main content

Floop Intern Spotlight: Kenny Ma

Kenny Ma (LinkedIn) interned with Floop from Dec 2019 - Sept 2020, working as a Program Manager (PM) & UX Intern and then a Software Engineering (SWE) intern on improving Floop’s onboarding experience.  He is a sophomore studying Computer Science at the University of Washington graduating May 2023, after which he will be looking for opportunities in software engineering and product management. We loved working with Kenny because of leadership, self-awareness, and self-advocacy. Learn more about what Kenny accomplished in his internship with Floop.

Kenny is a fast learner and impactful contributor in both individual and leadership roles. At Floop, Kenny excelled as both a Program Management intern, helping his team consistently meet milestones with high quality, and as a Software Engineering intern, driving his own learning and projects to develop features end-to-end. With his keen sense of self-awareness coupled with self-advocacy, Kenny will continue to grow and thrive in whatever role he finds in the future.

Top Accomplishments

Program Management:

  • Led a UX intern team of 4, auditing onboarding, customer success, and marketing UX for the beta-launch

  • Employed Agile and Scrum methodologies, always guaranteeing delivery and exceeding expectations

  • Coordinated user research interviews and spearheaded a final, comprehensive UX research audit—45+ recommendations were promptly implemented, streamlining the app for the beta-launch

Software Engineering:

  • Self-learned HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React, and Redux to be ready, Day 1. Started with fixing bugs, ended having implemented critical, front-facing functionality, including the signup page and interactive tutorial

  • Researched industry best practices to iteratively redesign Floop’s onboarding with the CEO & COO

  • Implemented the final, responsive redesign, reducing friction in the sign-up flow and initial app usage

Top Strengths

  • Leadership - As a Program Manager intern, Kenny led a team of three other interns in a project to improve Floop’s onboarding experience. After walking through the overall project requirements, Kenny took ownership and directed the project, breaking down requirements into concrete milestones and tasks that he delegated to team members. With his consistent communication, he helped his team meet all their deadlines and produce extremely high quality work. From Floop’s perspective, we were able to step back and completely trust Kenny to lead the team. From his team’s perspective, they praised Kenny’s organization and clear communication of instructions, expectations, and feedback.

  • Self-awareness - Kenny demonstrates self-awareness beyond anyone I know at his age. From his initial interview and through our ongoing 1:1’s, Kenny could always clearly articulate his strengths, interests, and areas of improvement. When we debriefed his team’s midpoint feedback, Kenny was not surprised by any of the feedback, both positive and suggestive.  After hearing a particular piece of anonymous feedback, Kenny immediately identified the person and described the situation. He was able to respond so quickly because he had already reflected on that situation on his own and considered ways that he might improve moving forward.

  • Self-advocacy - Not only does Kenny have high self-awareness, he is able to identify and communicate what he needs that will help him continue to grow. Because Kenny explicitly expressed a desire to improve his web development skills, we happily kept Kenny on the team after he finished his PM internship and transitioned him to a Software Engineering role. During the transition period, he filled gaps in knowledge through self-study and was ready to dive headfirst into the code base. While in his engineering role, Kenny shared that he was interested in learning more about running a startup. At Kenny’s suggestion, we spent part of our regular 1:1 meetings discussing the business aspects of Floop, with Kenny coming prepared with a list of questions. Kenny’s self-awareness of his needs coupled with his self-advocacy make him an incredibly fast learner and impactful contributor.

Summary of Work

Intern Takeaways

Here is what Kenny learned during his time at Floop:

  • PM: From every leadership experience, I try to take away a specific new mindset. My focus coming in was quality and efficiency. I’ve come to realize that, by being more flexible, sacrifices to either can be outweighed by the improvement to everyone’s experience. In the long run, this is even more effective.

  • SWE: 9 months ago, I had never taught myself a software skill. Now, I feel like I can learn anything. Learning by doing all the way.

  • This was my first time at an internship, a company...and a startup. I hope to have my own someday. Floop has been an important step in many different directions.

We loved working with Kenny this year. Best of luck in future endeavors!

Contact Kenny Ma through LinkedIn.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Back-to-School: Consider Your Feedback System, Not Grading System

One question I ask other teachers is “How important is feedback in learning?” Every teacher I talk to agrees that feedback is crucial. It’s how both teacher and student gets better. Research backs the importance of feedback; building off of John Hattie’s work comparing factors on learning, Evidence for Learning’s toolkit ranks feedback as having the highest impact out of their 34 approaches (along with meta-cognition) with a +8 months’ impact on students’ learning progress.

I follow the feedback question with “How important are grades in learning?” It might seem like a loaded question. You can imagine how teachers respond: “They’re not.”

Why give grades, then? We’ll save that topic for another occasion. For now, I just want to point out that we are frequently asked to consider and describe our grading system by students, parents, colleagues, and administrators. We’re rarely asked about the much bigger and more important component of our work: feedback.


With back-to-school quickly approac…

A Culture of Iteration: Policies and Practices for a Revision-FocusedClassroom

Success in the real world depends on a person's ability to iterate.
to understand the definition of success on a taskto seek feedback early and oftento use that feedback to revise and refine until successful As teachers, its our job to scaffold this process, with developmentally-appropriate differentiation, until our students can fly solo. As I sit here writing this, my SO Dan is at his desk red-lining a building diagram for a warehouse in Canada. When he's done, the diagram will go back to his team of engineers where they will respond to Dan's feedback with a better design. They'll repeat this process until both building code and client requirements have been met. To do this work, which requires an iteration cycle that can last over a year or more, Dan has to understand building code and client needs, seek feedback from other engineers and the client, and use that feedback to revise and refine until the design is ready for implementation.

​Dan wasn't born knowing h…

Part 2 - Tools for an Equitable Feedback System: Engaging with Criteria

This series of posts will cover a variety of bite-sized strategies that can be incorporated into a more holistic feedback system. To learn more about the research behind these approaches, we recommend you first read our white paper.

Part 1 - Feedback is Emotional



For feedback information to be useful, it must communicate:  Where am I going? (What are the goals?)How am I going? (What progress is being made toward the goal?)Where to next? (What activities need to be undertaken to make better progress?) (Hattie & Timperley, 2007).  Supporting students in engaging with the grading criteria helps give context to the feedback to come. In other words, it does the groundwork of helping them determine for themselves, "Where am I going?"