Carnegie Mellon University
December 13, 2023

Olivia Wu Becomes the First INI Student to be Named a Swartz Fellow

By Evan Lybrand

INI Communications Team

Master of Information Technology in Information Security (MSIT-IS) student Qinyuan (Olivia) Wu has been named one of the 2023-2025 James R. Swartz Entrepreneurial Fellows. Olivia is the first INI student to be a part of this highly selective program that helps passionate students start their entrepreneurial journey in the technology arena. 

Olivia’s journey into entrepreneurship took root during high school when she, dissatisfied with the packaging of yogurt, embarked on a mission to create her own design. “I think my first-ever, maybe, commercialized project was a yogurt wrapper. I found that the yogurt melts too fast. I was into chemistry and material science at the time, and I actually built a thermal wrapper.” From there, she followed her passion for entrepreneurship into her undergraduate work. 

While at her undergraduate institution, Olivia developed and launched a streamlined degree-planning tool for use by her fellow students, called uCredit. The work on this application gave Olivia experience in how to pitch a product. Her team also entered uCredit into a business competition and won second place for their efforts. 

“I think it's important to focus on professional skills. A lot of us are very technical, but I think the soft skills really matter too."

She applied for the James R. Swartz Entrepreneurial Fellowship program and became the first INI student to be accepted. “It means a lot to me,” Olivia said. This competitive program is only open to first-year graduate students. 

Olivia plans to combine the technical knowledge she’s gained at the INI with the skills she’s developing in her fellowship. “Right now, in the INI program, I’m enrolled in a lot of technical courses which is what I’m here for, Olivia shared. “I think being in this fellowship introduces the entrepreneurial perspective.” It’s this duality that is appealing, “I think it’s a good balance, because, sometimes, getting into those technical things, it’s good to gain that exposure, but in the fellowship, you switch your mind, switch your space into something that’s different.” 

Olivia shared the most valuable skills she’s gained at CMU. “Time management (laughs), because the fellowship is a lot of commitment, but I think the INI itself is a rigorous program. How do you manage homework, exams, and other commitments? I’m also a group fitness instructor here.” 

For those who are interested in entrepreneurship, Olivia left us with some advice, “I think it's important to focus on professional skills. A lot of us are very technical; we like to dig into CTF problems and all that, but I think the soft skills really matter too. I talk to a lot of mentors and all they tell me is that soft skills matter more and more and more down your career.”