SC&I alumna Clarissa Guzman ’20, who graduated with a degree in Information Technology and Informatics (ITI), is finding early success as she uses her knowledge to guide her interests.
Tell us about your entrepreneurial pursuits.
In July 2020, I turned a passion project into a reality by launching my online bubble tea store, C Tea Shop. After two years of running a bubble tea blog for my enjoyment, I created a business that allows people to share in my love for bubble tea. C Tea Shop specializes in DIY bubble tea kits that equip customers with everything they need to make bubble tea from the comfort of their own homes. Having no prior business experience, I spent time researching business practices, testing out platforms to host my store, and product sampling. My knowledge of digital marketing and technology has helped me develop strategies to reach customers all over the country. So far, I’ve sent my products to 20 U.S. states (and counting) and Canada. I am excited to grow and scale my business, as I have now made this my full-time endeavor. I hope to open up a physical shop after the pandemic as well.
What advice would you give your younger self about figuring out what aspect of the IT & Informatics profession to pursue?
Looking back, I wish I would have asked my peers and professors for their advice and knowledge. Although I found my technology interests in time, I felt that I could have accelerated that process by seeking out mentors earlier in my time as an ITI student. If I could go back, I would ask my professors what career paths they pursued in IT and why that career path interested them. It is very important to find out what your career options are early on so that you can take classes that relate to your interests and desired career path.
What ITI class did you most enjoy?
My favorite core class was Social Informatics, as it confirmed my interest in learning of the social aspects of information technology. My two favorite ITI electives were Social Impacts of Video Gaming and Human-Computer Interaction. Social Impacts of Video Gaming fed into my fascination with the social and cultural impacts of technology. Human-Computer Interaction was another favorite due to its incorporation of design principles, rapid prototyping, and the various user interface projects we were able to complete during the semester.
What kind of work and internship experience did you have while you were an undergraduate?
For about two years, I worked as an IT Helpdesk Technician for the Office of Information Technology Services at Rutgers. Working there helped me gain knowledge of IT practices and hands-on technical support skills. During my senior year, I interned as an Event Coordinator for SC&I. I also worked as a brand ambassador for various brands throughout my time at Rutgers. I tried my hand at a few different things so that I could figure out what I enjoyed and what I wanted to pursue after I graduated. These jobs and internships helped me do that.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve received?
I was once told that you cannot do anything on your own. The older I have gotten, the more apparent that has become. I am a very independent person and I do not like to ask for help. However, I’ve learned that asking for advice, seeking opinions, and making connections has helped me get jobs, land internships, and gain support that I didn’t think I needed. You can work as hard as you can toward a goal, but having the support of others can help launch you forward in many different ways.