Chuchu Ma
Chuchu Ma
  • February 28, 1994 - December 7, 2017
  • Mountain View, Texas

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Chuchu Ma, 23, of Mountain View, California, passed away on December 7, 2017.

Those who have met Chuchu can tell you that she accomplished more in her 23 years than most people manage in an entire lifetime. There is no doubt that she would have gone on to achieve even more of the incredible, but it's not the length of life, rather, the quality of life well lived that matters.

Chuchu was born in China on February 28, 1994, daughter of Li Chen and Hengguo Ma. She came to live in the US at the age of three.

Chuchu was a 2012 Valedictorian of Klein Collins High School in Spring, Texas. She was a talented musician, played both violin and piano, and was concertmaster in Chamber Orchestra. She received a National Merit Scholarship and earned numerous scholarships and awards. She always spoke fondly of the many friends who were there for her and helped her grow, and inspired countless many to dream big and reach those dreams.

At the University of Texas at Austin, she started off as a chemical engineering major before switching to computer science, the field she graduated from with Highest Honors in May 2016. No matter where she went, she quickly gained a reputation as one of the brightest students, and as one of the most humble and compassionate. She explored new interests, such as undergraduate research in Dr. Hal Alper's lab, where she worked on metabolic engineering of yeasts, volunteered to promote STEM education, assisted in teaching a software engineering course, and was heavily involved with the Engineering Chamber Orchestra (EChO) in a continuation of her passion for music, serving as Freshman Representative, Secretary and Student Engineering Council Representative, Vice President of External Affairs, and President throughout her college years. She also served as Advancement Chair and Communications Conference Chair for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). She met and made lifelong friends from seemingly all parts of campus, even at a school as large as UT, and helped make UT feel like home for many.

Chuchu consistently excelled at her work through both her performance and the heart and soul with which she approached everything. As an intern at Telogis and at Yahoo, she built lasting relationships while operating at a high level. After joining Google in July 2016, she had received personal thanks and awards from folks up and down the ladder, from individual contributors to the Vice President of her organization. Her technical accomplishments racked up quickly at the same time that she worked hard to build a fun and inclusive team. Through her leadership, coordination, and hands-on work, she accomplished the seemingly impossible of getting different teams to work together for a common goal. She was also well known to many Googlers outside her team for her infectious enthusiasm and willingness to step outside of her comfort zone to help others.

Most importantly, beyond her accomplishments in the academic and corporate realms, she was a bright light for everyone in her life. She was always genuine, always helpful, and always kind. Irrespective of her busy schedule, she always had time for her friends and family. Her enthusiasm for life permeated everything she did.

She was the perfect daughter any parents could hope for. She joked that her parents never pushed her to achieve more. Little did she realize how lucky her parents were. She always strived to be the best at everything she put her heart and mind to, and her hard work paid off. She had a great relationship with her parents and loved them deeply and fiercely. Family was a priority for her that made 1900 miles of geographical distance feel like next to none. Her parents are so proud of her.

She was the type of friend you could call up at any time, whether you needed someone to explore the city with or a shoulder to cry on without judgment. If you wanted her to like you, all you had to do was ask if she wanted to get boba tea and you would have made a friend for life. She especially enjoyed hot-pot, Korean soups, and dim sum, but if you talked with her more about food, she would happily admit to not being picky at all. Even a bag of trail mix was a culinary delight to her. She not only enjoyed cooking, but she brought people together to feed them with whatever she had been experimenting with. Somehow, she would throw together team hot-pot evenings with 20 people in a small apartment and 6 different utensils to meet everyone's separate dietary needs, do it well, and do it with a smile.

She was always doing something and bringing people together. She organized "running" groups to encourage reticent exercisers to get out and be active, led hiking trips all over the Bay Area, and brought her friends to all sorts of orchestral performances, including her own. She was adventurous and loved trying new things, from rock-climbing to making glass pumpkins to knitting. She was also a huge fan of anime, Pokemon, Avatar, RWBY, Hayao Miyazaki movies, and Nintendo games, and loved sharing these interests with others. She relished hosting game nights and wielded her red Nintendo 2DS the way her favorite characters did their blades. If you ever picked a Pokemon fight with her in Pokemon Sun/Moon, you had to prepare to lose.

And of course, Chuchu would disapprove if no one highlighted the fact that she was an absolute cat lover. She was a walking encyclopedia of the best cat forums on the internet, her Facebook page was decorated with cat photos, she spoiled her cat Twinkie, and any friends with cats would have to worry about impending cat-nappings. She had a goal to make everyone she met meow at least once.

Chuchu was passionate about giving back to young women in technology. She dedicated many hours and weekends throughout her schooling to STEM outreach for girls, developed and tested curricula for STEMed,