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Shihua Wu ’10
February 28, 2023
In 2020, fresh from Boston College with a degree in marketing and finance, Shihua Wu ’10 dove fearlessly into the world of start-ups. Now with a life in New York and an established career at Silicon Valley Bank, Shihua makes time for Steppingstone as an Alumnus, volunteering and eagerly connecting with Scholars of today.
After all, it seems like just yesterday he was approaching his own first day at Steppingstone, uncertain what the future would hold.
Shihua’s Steppingstone journey first started in 2009. Skeptical of what his time at Steppingstone would be like, he hesitantly joined his peers for their very first summer at Milton Academy. With the help of some convincing neighbors who also happened to be applying to Steppingstone, Shihua explored the possibility of becoming a Scholar—an act that would prompt him to build lasting relationships with not only his Advisors, but also peers, and even future Scholars for years to come.
“I had a good time. I made some friends. I really liked the Steppingstone model,” Shihua says, thinking back to his time in the program. “You really kind of get close with the staff and peers at Steppingstone. As a Scholar, I probably didn’t notice then, but we weren’t just learning, we were making friends. We were forming relationships.”
Long Lasting Relationships
Whether it be the relationships he’s built with his Advisors throughout the years, or those with peers that have lasted well throughout his academic journey, connecting with others is something that Shihua thinks back to with gratitude for where he is today.
He attributes his ability to attend and graduate from Boston College and eventual career trajectory into finance and start-ups to the relationships he’s formed with his Advisors and peers since 2009. He feels his path could have looked very different if it weren’t for this support:
“My college journey would’ve looked very different; I mean, my parents didn’t go to college. There were things I needed help with. Like the FAFSA, SAT, and things like that. Steppingstone did that all for me…Steppingstone was a huge help.”
He even gives a special shoutout to all of the Advisors who have helped shape his path, both academically and professionally:
“My first Advisor was Ms. Nelson, then Ms. Mederos later on, and then Ms. Sicairos! Also, I once sat next to Mr. Waldman on the bus and he had a big impact on me. He said a lot of things to me that really stuck with me and made me reflect on Steppingstone as an organization. Without these Advisors I wouldn’t have known how to get to college. They always had wise words for me to reflect on. They kind of changed the way I thought about the world.”
Making Change for a Better Future
Shihua now finds himself in Queens, New York working as an Associate for Silicon Valley Bank, where he has the opportunity to work with start-ups to maximize their probability of success and support their banking needs. Even when Shihua began this role two years ago, he was no stranger to the start-up world. He first recognized his curiosity for start-ups while still a student at Boston Latin Academy.
“I had a mentor who was working on his own start-up. I did some research and got hooked ever since I realized that start-ups and technology are really going to make a change for a better future. The lure of seeing start-ups go from nothing to something is amazing.”
This began Shihua’s now decade-long pursuit of entrepreneurship. While his mentor may have sparked his pivot into this newfound passion, Shihua credits the support he received from his Steppingstone network with this pursuit.
“Steppingstone played an important role in my journey as well. I remember John Simon, one of the founders of Steppingstone…My Advisor or someone put me in touch with him, and he’s launched many of his own start-ups, so Steppingstone was always supportive of what I was doing.”
Presently, Shihua finds himself getting involved with Steppingstone as a member of the Board of Young Professionals, a group dedicated to engaging individuals in their 20s and 30s in support of Steppingstone’s mission. For him, it’s the connections he’s able to build with current Scholars and families that motivate his involvement. A full-circle moment for him, Shihua shared that during these connections he finds himself feeling grateful for the mentorship and aid that Steppingstone has provided him throughout the years.
“I remember looking at groups I was speaking to and thinking ‘I used to be them’... I truly believe that Steppingstone changes lives.”
In so many ways, Steppingstone’s Alumni community empowers the next generation of Scholars. If you would like to discuss opportunities to get involved as an Alum, please contact Makeda Daniel ’09, Manager of Alumni Relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steppingstone is an educational nonprofit which serves students of every race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, or political beliefs to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to Scholars enrolled in the program. It does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, or national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship programs, or other organization-administered activities.