Writing, leadership skills gained at Lab valuable in tech career, alumna says


Matt Petres

U-High alumna Rachel Sylora spoke about her career and the skills she gained at Lab at an event co-hosted by the Maroon Key Society and Asian Students’ Association on Nov. 29.

Louis Auxenfans, News Editor

Correction: A previous edition of this story incorrectly said Ms. Sylora’s job description was a product manager. In fact, she is a program manager at Google. The revision was made Dec. 7. 

The writing and leadership skills gained from a Lab education help a person’s career — even at a tech company like Google, according to Rachel Sylora, a 2011 U-High alumna who spoke at a lunch event on Nov. 29 co-hosted by the Maroon Key Society and Asian Students’ Association.
While at Lab, Ms. Sylora played on the tennis team and served as editor-in-chief of the U-High Midway. She attended the University of Michigan majoring in communications and business with a passion to work in the media industry, but after summer internships, she realized the importance that tech plays in media and started working for Google after graduation.
In her job as a program manager at Google, Ms. Sylora uses many of the writing and leadership skills she gained from Lab.
“I still edit papers for some of my co-workers that are going on promotion, and they have to write the rationale for why they should be promoted,” Ms. Sylora said. “To this day I’m still so grateful for it because I think I didn’t realize while it was happening that it was going to be so important.”
As an Asian American woman, Ms. Sylora said her Google experience has been filled with more positive than negative experiences and her negative encounters stem from situations when she feels she is not heard in meetings because she is not as combative as colleagues. But she reiterated how Lab helps students handle tricky situations.
“Your experience at Lab has already trained you well to handle any kind of potentially negative experience that you might encounter,” Ms. Sylora said. “You’re just exposed to so many different types of people, and I think that’s really good because you’ve already got into those situations with a broader mindset.”
Zara Baig, Asian Students’ Association president, coordinated the event because she feels it is positive to hear the experiences of other Asian Americans working in an interesting industry.
“It’s good to see people who are similar to you because it makes what you want to do seem possible,” Zara said.
For ninth grader Lia Teklu, a key takeaway was how she does not have to only stick to one interest her whole life.
“Even if I do choose a passion in high school that can easily change and that I don’t have to be dead-set throughout my whole life,” Lia said. “It’s OK to have flexibility with my plans.”