More importantly in your daily lives, remember to stay involved: attend events, give back to your community, and be a leader.
Who are you?
I was born and raised in Kentucky, but attended college in sunny California at Stanford University. I studied Biological Sciences and specialized in Cell and Molecular Biology. Throughout college, my academic experiences and passions largely grew out of my technical research opportunities in infectious diseases, cancer biology, and pandemic influenza. Taking my experiences in these fields and my desire for a healthier world, I am currently working on a research project that bridges the fields of genomics, bioinformatics, and commerce. Outside of my career and academic focus, I am a fervent fan and follower of sports in particular Kentucky Basketball/Football and Stanford Basketball/Football. My allegiance to those schools and my daily involvement in the sports world (fantasy sports, playing basketball, reading blogs, participating in the message board community) play a large part of who I am.
What do you do?
One month into my first year of college, I started being involved in the Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Students Association (ITASA) and almost five years later, I am still involved with ITASA as a member of the Board of Directors. In the past five years, I have served in a variety of positions including National President, National Vice President, 2007 West Coast Conference Advisor, and District Chair. I am proud that ITASA has eclipsed 18 years in existence and has grown from an organization with a few but passionate participants to an officially incorporated 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization with national impact, but a grassroots approach. The organization has evolved from hosting regional conferences to offering expansive regional conferences, leadership retreats, regional grants, summer programs, a variety of online resources, and much more. The college years are a crucial and significant time for personal growth, and I truly believe that ITASA has positively impacted the lives of thousands of Taiwanese Americans and non-Taiwanese Americans.
Why are you proud to be of Taiwanese heritage?
What makes me most proud of my Taiwanese heritage (2nd generation Taiwanese American) are the people who are a part of this small, but tight-knit community. A community with upwards of a million people in the US should not be able to make the impact that it does on American society, but it certainly does and a large percentage of the credit goes to first and second generation Taiwanese Americans who play a role in the acronym digest (ITASA, TA.org, TAF, TASA, TCS, TAA, TACL, NATWA, NATPA, NATEA, FAPA, etc.). My first hand knowledge comes from my ITASA experience where I witnessed hundreds of students give up their valuable time, commitments, and energy to put on conferences, raise money, organize events, plan logistics, create programming material, and even cook dumplings. Just seeing this dedication inspires me to do my absolute best for the community.
What does the future of Taiwanese America look like to you?
We’re at a critical time. We are a strong, but small community and our population will continually decline in the next several years since we are the latter part of our current generation. Consequently, all of you can make a significant difference. Take this opportunity to educate others and correct misconceptions. More importantly in your daily lives, remember to stay involved: attend events, give back to your community, and be a leader. Remember you are a representative of the Taiwanese American community. Make us proud. Make a difference.
Any additional information you would like to share?
Visit the ITASA website at ITASA.org and join the abundance of social networks (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) to stay in touch with ITASA events/programs.
Eric is cool.