By Rachel Mayer, CS MEng '15

What were you doing before Cornell Tech?
I was a currency trader at JPMorgan for more than four years, specializing in algorithmic trading and emerging markets. I've always loved markets and their intricacies from a very young age so after graduating from MIT, I knew my calling and went straight to Wall Street.

Why did you decide to come to Cornell Tech?
I wanted to go back to my roots and study computer science to acquire new technical skills and to keep on learning. I had been four years on the job in a very intense business and client focused setting, and I was craving to go back to school and settle in a creative and collaborative environment again.

I had heard about Cornell Tech through my research, and it sounded like the perfect program for me. I wanted an academic setting for learning that was not only rigorous and established, but had an industry spin and a large entrepreneurial spirit. It was also very important to me to stay in NYC and support the emerging technology center that is beginning to thrive here. I can’timagine having gone anywhere else!

What have you been doing since graduating from Cornell Tech?
I co-founded a company alongside two of my Cornell Tech engineering classmates called Trigger. The combination of a small class size and an entrepreneurial and technical curriculum was a perfect way to meet and work early on with great and likeminded people.

Trigger came out of the Startup Studio class in the spring semester led by David Tisch. We won the Cornell Tech Startup Award at the end of the semester which helped us get a boost to incorporate Trigger and get a head start on building the product.

At Trigger we simplify your investment ideas with IF THIS THEN THAT statements to help you better manage your portfolio. You can trigger on a variety of real time events like stock price movements, corporate fundamentals and economic events. We integrate with your existing brokerage account so you can easily sell or buy a stock when your trigger has been triggered. We will be launching in the spring, check us out!

How did your time at Cornell Tech prepare you for your career?
I definitely felt like I got an education not only in relevant computer science practices but also on product management and idea iteration at Cornell Tech. The concepts we use day to day at Trigger, such as being feature complete, talking to users early on, and iterating very fast were all new concepts to me that I learned in many different classes at Cornell Tech.

Being exposed to all kinds of industry leaders and their experiences via Conversations in the Studio also helped me realize their mistakes early on and try to incorporate their tactics of success at Trigger. We recently set up SSL on our servers at Trigger and we were all reminiscing about Vitaly Shmatikov’s epic 4 lecture run on the topic! Definitely helped us prepare for doing that kind of work in the real world.

What is something interesting people may be surprised to learn about you?
Growing up in Venezuela I had a recording contract with Universal Studios and was a recording artist before going to MIT as an undergrad. I also did translation work for Universal, which led me to be the main translator for the Black Eyed Peas in Venezuela on their world tour. It always surprises people when they hear that because they look at my background on paper and they think I'm a total geek!