MINERVA VOICES

A Conversation with Minerva Student Carl Kho

Carl is a Class of 2026 student and a passionate Webflow developer.

February 28, 2024

What are some professional opportunities you participated in that have complemented your Minerva education and influenced your career aspirations?

A professional opportunity that stands out is my 2023 summer as a game developer for Northeastern University. This experience has impacted me in the following two ways. Firstly, it taught me how to work with game engines such as Unity and Unreal Engine 5. Secondly and more importantly, it has opened my eyes to how important accessibility is, especially having worked with a team of neurodivergent individuals.

I had worked as a product designer for two years before Minerva, and the part that I used to dislike was minding Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). WCAG is a design standard that ensures accessibility across the board, including colorblind or dyslexic individuals. Guidelines include improving the font-kerning or changing to contrasting font color. While I initially dreaded this type of work before, my internship at Northeastern University changed me—it made me more empathetic and made me apply different #interpretivelens when I develop new designs. I now advocate for accessibility because I know that accessibility doesn't end with neurodivergence or sight problems. Accessibility goes beyond - it can translate into helping your grandpa who isn't tech literate to navigate a diabetes tracking app, which is crucial for his wellness. It underscored the importance of design in even helping a young teen who was just recently diagnosed with ADHD get answers in a fun and educational way so that the stigma on these topics will be reduced. And if we work together for that kind of future, I think that the next generation will be bright and better off.

How has Minerva’s experiential learning influenced your future career goals or aspirations?

Minerva's experiential learning has demystified many things for me and it helped me take a giant step toward my desired career in research and development. What I mean by this is that Minerva's education is holistic, meaning it does not only span from theory to assignments, but rather theory to assignments to professional opportunities, and even one-on-one mentorships. I have gotten a clearer vision of what I want to do, and I have even created alternative paths for myself in case one doesn't work out, or if the first path isn’t actually for me. I know a lot of people in this world experience this dilemma, and I want to use this space to say that it's okay. 

I am now inclined toward two very specific fields: semantic decoding and smart farming. The Empirical Analyses (NS50) problem-solving unit was pivotal to my smart farming interest. While considering sustainability, I realized a continual challenge would be food replenishment, which requires money. This insight led me to smart farming, where robots handle planting and maintenance. Exposure to first-world resources and funding in San Francisco significantly raised the chances of me pursuing this path.

My enthusiasm for smart farming intensified during my summer internship at Northeastern University. There, I had the opportunity to explore a robotics laboratory, which further fueled my passion.

To summarize, Minerva has given me a crystal clear, laser-focused vision for my future career goals and aspirations.

What is a standout moment from your Minerva journey that you believe has been particularly transformative for you as a student and an individual?

Definitely being spotlighted on the tallest billboard in New York Times Square. This is a testament to my Minerva journey because this achievement didn't happen by magic, but rather through a series of events that I am proud to share. When I received my Minerva admission, the first few words that my father said were, “I'm sorry but we can't afford this”, even after receiving my financial aid package. That led me scrambling—I used my pre-existing strengths to create a Webflow website for myself, telling potential sponsors who I am, what I want to do, who I want to be, and what my past achievements are to prove that, with their support, I can do it. Fortunately, life has been very generous and the pivotal moment was when the sponsor gave me enough funds to cover not all but a large portion of my Minerva costs.

Webflow, the product I used for my website, is actually headquartered in San Francisco, very close to Minerva’s residence hall. One thing led to another and then Webflow gave me the privilege of attending their highly esteemed conference for free. I got to compete in their “Build a Website in Under 10 Minutes” challenge and when I was in Boston for my internship with Northeastern University, they reached out and told me that they wanted to share my story at their annual conference. They flew me from Boston to San Francisco, all-expense paid. And then I got featured on my first billboard in Times Square which was a very humbling experience because the last time my family and I cried was because we struggled to afford Minerva and now we were crying again, but this time tears of joy.

How have the active learning and seminar-style classes influenced your academic development and professional readiness?

Minerva's active learning and classes gave me the chance to fully embrace the iterative process of this world. It gave me a platform and cemented ideas that it is okay to speak your mind and give your opinions as long as you illustrate your points and become transparent with the thought process behind this. And I say this because the learning platform’s collaborative nature enables feedback right then and there. It gave me the power to use my voice and speak up even more.

Can you share an example of a challenging project or assignment you have encountered at Minerva and how it has contributed to your growth as a critical and creative thinker?​​

One enlightening project in Minerva that contributed to my growth by a large factor is my Cornerstone Civic Project. I partnered up with Gensler, the company behind a lot of architectural feats and we were tasked with helping them to improve San Francisco Airport. As a designer, I quickly went on to share my ideas. Minerva gave me new tools to work with the problem-solving Habits of Mind and Foundational Concepts (HCs). Our guiding question was “How might we enhance airport navigation in San Francisco Airport with the use of the Metaverse?”, a rising technology that is yet to be established in the industry. By participating in this project, not only did I grasp new technical skills such as Flutter, Mapbox, and Pitch.com, but it allowed me to learn from the pros, from industry-level aviation designers, about how to make important research-based design decisions for real potential users. My deliverable was an application that gives step-by-step instructions for passengers going to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) or landing in it. If you have ever been there, you would imagine how huge it is and how easy it is for people to get lost. Once you arrive or land, you will get step-by-step instructions for any place you want to go to in the airport and live updates on your flight.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about applying to Minerva?

Don't be afraid to show up as yourself and don't underestimate your achievements! In the Accomplishments section, you can use your local school project, for example. As long as you worked hard and you quantify the impact you had with that project, that will be enough. Because again, we're all a work in progress and Minerva is an opportunity to grow even more. So, done is better than perfect. Submit that application before the deadline!

Tell us about a funny experience that happened to you during the global rotation.

Something funny that continues in my Minerva journey is the realization that Minervans are people after all. Behind all the fancy accomplishments, we're still human. 

One specific example of this was when we stayed one night aboard a ship used in World War II while in San Francisco. The educational tour of the ship was fun on its own because we got to see the decks and all of the mechanisms that powered the ship, and even the big guns. What was funny was that I don't think anybody slept at all. While we are considered young adults we continued to play musical chairs and run around and basically be kids together. I think that is funny and heartwarming at the same time because, despite all the responsibilities thrown at us and all the pressure that we get, we're still reconnecting with our inner children. So if this doesn't sound like a convincing Minerva invitation to you, hit me up, I'll be there to talk to you more about other beautiful Minerva experiences.

You can learn more about Carl's journey in his blog post.

If you were inspired by Carl's story and are seeking a college experience that will teach you valuable pragmatic skills that will enable you to change the world, apply to join Minerva today.

Quick Facts

Name
Carl Vincent Kho
Country
The Philippines
Class
2026
Major

Social Sciences & Business

Business & Computational Sciences

Business and Social Sciences

Social Sciences and Business

Computational Sciences & Social Sciences

Computer Science & Arts and Humanities

Business and Computational Sciences

Business and Social Sciences

Natural Sciences

Arts and Humanities

Business, Social Sciences

Business & Arts and Humanities

Computational Sciences

Natural Sciences, Computer Science

Computational Sciences

Arts & Humanities

Computational Sciences, Social Sciences

Computational Sciences

Computational Sciences

Natural Sciences, Social Sciences

Social Sciences, Natural Sciences

Data Science, Statistics

Computational Sciences

Business

Computational Sciences, Data Science

Social Sciences

Natural Sciences

Business, Natural Sciences

Business, Social Sciences

Computational Sciences

Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences

Social Sciences

Computational Sciences, Natural Sciences

Natural Sciences

Computational Sciences, Social Sciences

Business, Social Sciences

Computational Sciences

Natural Sciences, Social Sciences

Social Sciences

Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences

Arts & Humanities, Social Science

Social Sciences, Business

Arts & Humanities

Computational Sciences, Social Science

Natural Sciences, Computer Science

Computational Science, Statistic Natural Sciences

Business & Social Sciences

Computational Science, Social Sciences

Social Sciences and Business

Business

Arts and Humanities

Computational Sciences

Social Sciences

Social Sciences and Computational Sciences

Social Sciences & Computational Sciences

Social Sciences & Arts and Humanities

Computational Science

Minor

Computational Science & Business

Economics

Social Sciences

Concentration

Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence & Cognition, Brain, and Behavior

Designing Societies & New Ventures

Strategic Finance & Data Science and Statistics

Brand Management and Designing Societies

Data Science & Economics

Machine Learning

Cells, Organisms, Data Science, Statistics

Arts & Literature and Historical Forces

Artificial Intelligence & Computer Science

Cells and Organisms, Mind and Emotion

Economics, Physics

Managing Operational Complexity and Strategic Finance

Global Development Studies and Brain, Cognition, and Behavior

Scalable Growth, Designing Societies

Business

Drug Discovery Research, Designing and Implementing Policies

Historical Forces, Cognition, Brain, and Behavior

Artificial Intelligence, Psychology

Designing Solutions, Data Science and Statistics

Data Science and Statistic, Theoretical Foundations of Natural Science

Strategic Finance, Politics, Government, and Society

Data Analysis, Cognition

Brand Management

Data Science and Statistics & Economics

Cognitive Science & Economics

Data Science and Statistics and Contemporary Knowledge Discovery

Internship
Higia Technologies
Project Development and Marketing Analyst Intern at VIVITA, a Mistletoe company
Business Development Intern, DoSomething.org
Business Analyst, Clean Energy Associates (CEA)

Conversation

What are some professional opportunities you participated in that have complemented your Minerva education and influenced your career aspirations?

A professional opportunity that stands out is my 2023 summer as a game developer for Northeastern University. This experience has impacted me in the following two ways. Firstly, it taught me how to work with game engines such as Unity and Unreal Engine 5. Secondly and more importantly, it has opened my eyes to how important accessibility is, especially having worked with a team of neurodivergent individuals.

I had worked as a product designer for two years before Minerva, and the part that I used to dislike was minding Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). WCAG is a design standard that ensures accessibility across the board, including colorblind or dyslexic individuals. Guidelines include improving the font-kerning or changing to contrasting font color. While I initially dreaded this type of work before, my internship at Northeastern University changed me—it made me more empathetic and made me apply different #interpretivelens when I develop new designs. I now advocate for accessibility because I know that accessibility doesn't end with neurodivergence or sight problems. Accessibility goes beyond - it can translate into helping your grandpa who isn't tech literate to navigate a diabetes tracking app, which is crucial for his wellness. It underscored the importance of design in even helping a young teen who was just recently diagnosed with ADHD get answers in a fun and educational way so that the stigma on these topics will be reduced. And if we work together for that kind of future, I think that the next generation will be bright and better off.

How has Minerva’s experiential learning influenced your future career goals or aspirations?

Minerva's experiential learning has demystified many things for me and it helped me take a giant step toward my desired career in research and development. What I mean by this is that Minerva's education is holistic, meaning it does not only span from theory to assignments, but rather theory to assignments to professional opportunities, and even one-on-one mentorships. I have gotten a clearer vision of what I want to do, and I have even created alternative paths for myself in case one doesn't work out, or if the first path isn’t actually for me. I know a lot of people in this world experience this dilemma, and I want to use this space to say that it's okay. 

I am now inclined toward two very specific fields: semantic decoding and smart farming. The Empirical Analyses (NS50) problem-solving unit was pivotal to my smart farming interest. While considering sustainability, I realized a continual challenge would be food replenishment, which requires money. This insight led me to smart farming, where robots handle planting and maintenance. Exposure to first-world resources and funding in San Francisco significantly raised the chances of me pursuing this path.

My enthusiasm for smart farming intensified during my summer internship at Northeastern University. There, I had the opportunity to explore a robotics laboratory, which further fueled my passion.

To summarize, Minerva has given me a crystal clear, laser-focused vision for my future career goals and aspirations.

What is a standout moment from your Minerva journey that you believe has been particularly transformative for you as a student and an individual?

Definitely being spotlighted on the tallest billboard in New York Times Square. This is a testament to my Minerva journey because this achievement didn't happen by magic, but rather through a series of events that I am proud to share. When I received my Minerva admission, the first few words that my father said were, “I'm sorry but we can't afford this”, even after receiving my financial aid package. That led me scrambling—I used my pre-existing strengths to create a Webflow website for myself, telling potential sponsors who I am, what I want to do, who I want to be, and what my past achievements are to prove that, with their support, I can do it. Fortunately, life has been very generous and the pivotal moment was when the sponsor gave me enough funds to cover not all but a large portion of my Minerva costs.

Webflow, the product I used for my website, is actually headquartered in San Francisco, very close to Minerva’s residence hall. One thing led to another and then Webflow gave me the privilege of attending their highly esteemed conference for free. I got to compete in their “Build a Website in Under 10 Minutes” challenge and when I was in Boston for my internship with Northeastern University, they reached out and told me that they wanted to share my story at their annual conference. They flew me from Boston to San Francisco, all-expense paid. And then I got featured on my first billboard in Times Square which was a very humbling experience because the last time my family and I cried was because we struggled to afford Minerva and now we were crying again, but this time tears of joy.

How have the active learning and seminar-style classes influenced your academic development and professional readiness?

Minerva's active learning and classes gave me the chance to fully embrace the iterative process of this world. It gave me a platform and cemented ideas that it is okay to speak your mind and give your opinions as long as you illustrate your points and become transparent with the thought process behind this. And I say this because the learning platform’s collaborative nature enables feedback right then and there. It gave me the power to use my voice and speak up even more.

Can you share an example of a challenging project or assignment you have encountered at Minerva and how it has contributed to your growth as a critical and creative thinker?​​

One enlightening project in Minerva that contributed to my growth by a large factor is my Cornerstone Civic Project. I partnered up with Gensler, the company behind a lot of architectural feats and we were tasked with helping them to improve San Francisco Airport. As a designer, I quickly went on to share my ideas. Minerva gave me new tools to work with the problem-solving Habits of Mind and Foundational Concepts (HCs). Our guiding question was “How might we enhance airport navigation in San Francisco Airport with the use of the Metaverse?”, a rising technology that is yet to be established in the industry. By participating in this project, not only did I grasp new technical skills such as Flutter, Mapbox, and Pitch.com, but it allowed me to learn from the pros, from industry-level aviation designers, about how to make important research-based design decisions for real potential users. My deliverable was an application that gives step-by-step instructions for passengers going to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) or landing in it. If you have ever been there, you would imagine how huge it is and how easy it is for people to get lost. Once you arrive or land, you will get step-by-step instructions for any place you want to go to in the airport and live updates on your flight.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about applying to Minerva?

Don't be afraid to show up as yourself and don't underestimate your achievements! In the Accomplishments section, you can use your local school project, for example. As long as you worked hard and you quantify the impact you had with that project, that will be enough. Because again, we're all a work in progress and Minerva is an opportunity to grow even more. So, done is better than perfect. Submit that application before the deadline!

Tell us about a funny experience that happened to you during the global rotation.

Something funny that continues in my Minerva journey is the realization that Minervans are people after all. Behind all the fancy accomplishments, we're still human. 

One specific example of this was when we stayed one night aboard a ship used in World War II while in San Francisco. The educational tour of the ship was fun on its own because we got to see the decks and all of the mechanisms that powered the ship, and even the big guns. What was funny was that I don't think anybody slept at all. While we are considered young adults we continued to play musical chairs and run around and basically be kids together. I think that is funny and heartwarming at the same time because, despite all the responsibilities thrown at us and all the pressure that we get, we're still reconnecting with our inner children. So if this doesn't sound like a convincing Minerva invitation to you, hit me up, I'll be there to talk to you more about other beautiful Minerva experiences.

You can learn more about Carl's journey in his blog post.

If you were inspired by Carl's story and are seeking a college experience that will teach you valuable pragmatic skills that will enable you to change the world, apply to join Minerva today.