Sylvia Chen – Social Chair of UC San Diego’s Taiwanese American Student Association

UC San Diego, La Jolla, CA

Knowing how much it hurts to be excluded, I want to prevent that from happening to other people.

Who are you?

My name is Sylvia and I am currently a sophomore at UCSD. I was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan in the peaceful neighborhoods of Neihu. In the winter of 2002, I moved to a city in California called Diamond Bar where I finished my middle school and high school education. While I was in high school I joined our school’s hip hop team (DB Junkies) as well as our women’s show choir group (Diamondaires&Solitaire), and that is how I found my passion for dancing and singing. Additionally, I developed an interest in photography after high school and this is what eventually led me to my involvement in the Taiwanese American Students Association (TASA) at UCSD, as well as my current major, Visual Arts Media.  During my freshman year of college, I found a sense of belonging by discovering an amazing group of friends in TASA. Because of them, I went out to every TASA event and soon after, my enthusiasm for the club got me the Historian position. This year I’m the Social Chair of TASA and my passion for it definitely remains. Being in college is about figuring out what you love to do, and helping people out, socializing with people, and promoting Taiwanese awareness are definitely things I have discovered and developed much passion for.

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

Currently I am the Social Chair of TASA. TASA’s main purpose is to provide a sense of community for Taiwanese Americans, as well as those who are interested in the Taiwanese culture mainly at UCSD but also among the greater community.  We have an event every week to create chances for people to socialize as well as to introduce Taiwan and its culture to people in various ways.

Planning numerous events might sound like hard work and I’m not denying it, but having a good turn out at an event, seeing people having fun and building irreplaceable friendships, and learning more about the amazing country of Taiwan make up for all the work I’ve devoted to this club.

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

When I first came to the United States, I encountered times where I was made fun of because of my poor English and faced other difficulties because I had a hard time adjusting to an entirely new environment. Knowing how much it hurts to be excluded, I want to prevent that from happening to other people.

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

My vision for TASA is to discover all the amazingly talented Taiwanese people around campus. Coming to college, the only regret I had was not being able to dance and sing every day like I did when I was in high school.  I believe in order for hidden talents to show up, there has to be opportunities provided for those people to utilize those talents.  Slowly, TASA is starting to provide those chances for people to do what they love to do; this year the new thing we’re doing is executing dance workshops every two weeks, and as I have predicted, a lot of new people came out.  Hopefully in a few years, we will be able to provide many other opportunities for people to demonstrate and develop their talents and hobbies.

Why are you proud to be of Taiwanese heritage?

I am EXTREMELY proud to be a first generation of Taiwanese heritage because of the amazing, friendly people and beautiful scenery of Taiwan.  And whenever I go back to Taiwan, I can never have enough of their food!!  That is also why I am so proud; Taiwanese people CAN COOK! Even though as of right now I am not that great of a cook, but I believe it’s in my blood and I will be able to master and serve great dishes like 蚵阿煎 (oyster omelette) and 糖葫蘆 (tomato candy?) one day.

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


Any additional information you would like to share?

As I mentioned earlier, I am an aspiring photographer who still has a lot to learn!  But it would be amazing if you guys could check out my work that I post on Flickr ( to give me some input or to admire them or to even just say hi to me!!

I absolutely LOVE making friends and chatting with people, so feel free to add me on Facebook! And if you attend UCSD, make sure to check out TASA!

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