Victor Kao, EG21, EG22

School: School of Engineering 

Degrees: Master’s of Science in Innovation and Management and Master's of Science in Mechanical Engineering 

Home: Maryland, where I was born and raised 

Why were these two degrees right for you? 

I was one of those kids who needed to keep my hands busy; I was always playing with Legos or Transformers. At Tufts, I was able to enroll in the dual degree program. I came in aiming to learn the skills that will eventually allow me to enter the C-suite—I want to use my capabilities to do great things in the business world. Another goal was to learn how the world operates now, as so much of what we do becomes digitally or mechanically more technical–and what that will look like in the future. I want to be part of it all, understanding the processes of change and growth and joining the innovators. 

What will you carry from Tufts into your career? 

Tufts has been a gold mine for me in terms of expanding my views and helping me see the world more clearly. My interactions with fellow students and others in the community have allowed me to understand how my own perspective adds to the mix; I appreciate that every individual brings something unique and the exchange of ideas sometimes allows for radical transparency and truth. That means a lot to me and it’s something I’ll always strive for. 

What are you most proud of from your time at Tufts? 

In my second semester, when violence against Asian Americans was at an all-time high, I collaborated with one of my friends from the MSIM program, a student from China. We created an outreach program directed toward Asian American youth in the greater Boston area to provide support and show the ways in which all Asians are united. That’s one of the things I love about Tufts in general—this is a community where people try to put others’ needs before their own. It felt good to be a part of that, to be working on a project for others.  

Also, Tufts is a place that fosters openness. Help is always just an ask away. Collaboration is always available. I was proud of myself for leaning into that, finding ways to work with others while challenging them and challenging myself—and being able to ask for help. As they say, iron sharpens iron. I’m proud of the relationships I made here that have helped me improve myself.  

But more broadly, the thing I’m most proud of is my military career. I’m a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. I joined the army initially to help pay for college, but it turned into something much more for me. It became about pursuing a higher calling and being part of a team in which I represent more than just myself, my family, or my background—I represent the U.S. Army. I see that as a real honor. 

This profile originally appeared as part of the series “Profiles in Inspiration: Commencement 2022 Spotlights."

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