Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
I hope that in the future, Taiwanese Americans will be viewed as a united and influential group that has a unique voice that deserves to be heard.
I am currently a junior at Northwestern University majoring in psychology and legal studies with a minor in international studies. I am originally from Chicago, Illinois, and love exploring the city by getting off at random stops on the L and seeing what I find. Outside of the Residential College Board, I am treasurer for the Model United Nations club and the Undergraduate Psychology Association, historian for the Chi Omega sorority, and I conduct cognitive psychology research here at Northwestern. But the thing I look forward to the most is participating in Northwestern’s annual Dance Marathon where we raise money for charity and then dance for thirty hours straight!
Tell us about your organization / project, your role, and its impact?
The Residential College Board (RCB) is an umbrella organization that hosts events for all the students living in residential colleges at Northwestern. There are eleven residential colleges on Northwestern’s campus, all aimed at fostering communities through providing social, academic, and philanthropic events. I lived in the International Studies Residential College my freshman year and was president my sophomore year. I immediately felt drawn into a community where I felt I could be myself and I always looked forward to events like international movie nights and dorm outings to do things like play paintball or eat all-you-can-eat sushi.
As president of RCB, I want to help oversee and hold events that bring these smaller dorm communities together and promote unity within the residential college system. These events vary from the conventional (such as formals and food outings) to the unexpected (such as human foosball and quidditch). At a school where there are over eight thousand students, it is easy to start feeling overwhelmed. I hope that RCB can help students (especially freshmen) feel as if they are part of a supportive community at Northwestern.
Where do you find your inspiration and motivation as a student leader?
My experience at the summer camp, Taiwanese American Foundation (TAF), helped me shape who I am as both a person and a leader. Back in 2001 when I first attended the camp, I was shy to the point where my mom would always compare me to the caboose of a train. But through providing me with a caring and close community, the camp taught me how to have confidence in what I believed in and let my opinions be heard.
The confidence I gained from going to TAF pushed me to take two leadership roles in Taiwan in the summers of 2007 and 2008. In 2007, I was an English teacher in Taitung, Taiwan, as part of the Assisting Individuals with Disadvantages program. Being part of the program really helped me develop my communication skills and taught me that as a leader, you can expect to learn a lot of things from the people you are leading. In 2008, I interned at Far Eastern International Bank in Taipei, Taiwan. One of my jobs while working there was to help coordinate a summer program for college students. Being part of that process developed my belief that in addition to looking at the broad scope of an event, you also have to concentrate on the smaller details to make sure little things do not fall through the cracks.
What does the future of Taiwanese America look like to you?
I hope that in the future, Taiwanese Americans will be viewed as a united and influential group that has a unique voice that deserves to be heard. In my vision, there will be Taiwanese American leaders in every major field of study and they will inspire future generations to continue being proud of their heritage.
STEPHANIE IS AWESOME.