Annie Han – Freshman Rep of Wellesley’s Taiwanese Organization, Co-Founder of Simply Savant

Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA

Passion is what sparks inspiration and motivation to do better for the community.

Who are you?

I’m a freshman at Wellesley College, majoring in Mathematics and Biomedical Engineering at MIT (tentatively).  I’m a Taiwanese American who has a beautiful, loving relationship with science and mathematics. In high school, I was the co-president of Math Club and was the group leader of a research team that published a paper and presented at a energy conference in Japan. When I’m not being a nerd, I’m pretty active in several organizations on and off-campus. Two years ago, I co-founded the national chapter of a non-profit organization called Simply Savant, and served as the Director of Operations. I’m also one of two Freshman Reps of Wellesley’s Taiwanese Cultural Organization (TCO), and the Historian of Chinese Student Association (CSA). Other than that, I enjoy watching Taiwanese dramas, playing tennis, video editing, and watching the Disney Channel.

Tell us about your organization / project, your role, and its impact?

Two years ago, a group of my high school friends co-founded a nonprofit organization called Simply Savant. We wanted to promote academics for less privileged children who couldn’t acquire the resources to achieve academically or appreciate learning. Through educational programs, charity projects, and fundraising, we were able to provide children with the opportunities to learn and grow academically. One of our biggest projects included building over 22 libraries in facilities (Boys and Girls Clubs). As the co-founder and Director of Operations, I planned many events, kept our group on top of their tasks, and handled many of the logistics. Before going on to college, I organized, directed, and taught at a summer camp called Camp Savant.

At Wellesley, I am pretty committed to the Taiwanese organization. TCO seeks to inform the community about Taiwanese culture, and seeks to foster a greater community of active Taiwanese Americans.  Since Wellesley is a small school, we also welcome members from other backgrounds who are interested in learning about Taiwanese culture. I’m very happy to be one of two TCO freshman reps. We organize events such as a shaved ice night, a first-year pre-party, dessert study breaks, and Taiwanese-breakfast-for-dinner. We do this with the goal of serving as a liaison between the current members and new members, and getting new students to feel welcomed.

TCO was my first step in being active in the Taiwanese community. As I’m exposing myself more to Taiwanese culture and representing myself as a Taiwanese American leader, I hope to be more involved the next couple of years.

Where do you find your inspiration and motivation as a student leader?

I was always the one to bandage things up when events weren’t going as planned, well-executed, or when disagreements would arise in organizations. I was always thinking three steps ahead, and it was the inner drive of mine to take initiative that brought me up as a leader in high school. I know that I don’t possess any particularly authoritatitve qualities. But I am practical, I am a listener, and most importantly, I am passionate. Passion is what sparks inspiration and motivation to do better for the community.

To future student leaders, some advice I’d like to give is to be passionate about what you are leading. Whether you lead seriously, optimistically, or practically doesn’t matter–what matters is leading passionately.

What is your vision for the organization / project and the role that it may play in the broader community?

I hope that I will impact TCO in ways that will inspire 1st and 2nd-generations (and others) at Wellesley to confidently promote Taiwanese culture, Taiwanese/Taiwanese American identity, and political issues more actively on campus. I would like to see myself and TCO members getting involved with other organizations, such as ITASA and TACL. I would like TCO to be a bigger, more successful organization on campus, and it will be a place for members to feel like they are a part of a family. I hope that non-Taiwanese people who attend our events will want to continue to learn, appreciate, and understand Taiwanese culture.

Why are you proud to be of Taiwanese heritage?

My mom is from mainland China and my dad is from Taipei, Taiwan, so most of the culturally significant events that happened in my life were a combination of Chinese and Taiwanese cultures. Albert, my older brother, and Jason Tsai, my close friend, have been very involved with TACL; seeing how influential they were as Taiwanese American leaders and the difference they made in the community, I was motivated and curious to learn about my own background and  identity. And even though I am only “half” Taiwanese American, I am still a proud Taiwanese American.

What does the future of Taiwanese America look like to you?

I’d like to see a more informed, active Taiwanese American community–a community with a variety of leaders from the entertainment industry to the sciences. 加油!

Any additional information you would like to share?

I love chua bing, taro boba milk tea, and Wu Chun.

Favorite Taiwanese commercial (<3)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fmmh9U_inVk

Links of organizations:
Simply Savant: http://simplysavant.weebly.com/
Wellesley TCO’s Tumblr: http://wellesleytco.tumblr.com/
TCO’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wellesley-Taiwanese-Cultural-Organization/167721603245237

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