Dilys Sun, SFWHS Class of 2006, was one of the first high school students to join our high school directly from China. Since graduating she has received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford in economics, worked for Deloitte Consulting as a technology consultant, learned to code through Codeacademy, a YCombinator-backed technical startup, and joined Airpair, a technical start-up as a Content Manager.
Although Dilys was initially nervous about studying at Stanford, she quickly found that the well-rounded and integrated education that she had received at San Francisco Waldorf High School had prepared her well for even the largest lecture classes. While many of her classmates struggled with the discussions and self-expression expected by the professors, Dilys was used to critical thinking and taking initiative with her professors rather than simply studying for the test. As a result, Dilys “cruised through the first few years. I really loved this, for it gave me a peace of mind, a sense that this is something that I’m really good at. This made me fearless.”
This gregarious attitude led to internships every year of her college career. Her sophomore year internship in Japan was an especially powerful experience. She had been interested in the country ever since travelling there with our high school Eurythmy Troupe. She thrived reimmersing herself in the culture through the internship and her homestay with a Japanese family. It was during this “highlight of my college career” in Japan that Dilys transitioned from a major in chemistry to economics.
In her senior year, Dilys participated in an internship that on the face of it was an odd match. Although she had never worked in the technology field before, she applied to be a technology consultant at Deloitte Consulting. She found it interesting that no one else seemed comfortable with taking a position like this without studying technology previously, but it was a very sensible move for her. “ It made sense to me because I can learn everything and it’s fun to be challenged.” She subsequently took a position at Deloitte after graduating and spent the next two years travelling all over the state, meeting new people and learning a lot. She found that the critical thinking she learned at SFWHS was a huge boost – although she had never studied technology, she could put together documents, explain ideas, and search for solutions. “I found it sort of like not having textbooks in high school and it worked out super well – no one at Deloitte had ever seen anyone operate like me and they really appreciated the outgoing optimism.”
After two years at Deloitte, Dilys was ready for another challenge. Working with technology inspired her to delve deeper. In spite of the protestations from her family, she quit her well-paying job at Deloitte to study code on Codecademy.com and Coding Dojo, a web development bootcamp. This was the start of “an incredible journey” that included going to the Crunchies – the Oscars for coders; accepting an award on behalf of Codeacademy; and a new job at a technology start-up named Airpair where her role required an extensive amount of technical writing, something she mastered during her education with Codeacacemy.
Dilys is incredibly happy working in the technology world and feels that her journey from SFWHS to Stanford to Airpair makes perfect sense. She finds that her “untechnical” Waldorf education actually prepared her very well for the technical role that she now fills. She finds that the best developers think broadly and may even be inspired by classical literature and poetry. Good programming requires a well-integrated and connective approach that brings much more to the table then knowing how to write code. Dilys strongly feels that her ability to bring an outlook that is both technological and philosophical stems back to her roots at SFWHS.