What is your story? What doesn't your resume tell us about you?
I have always been an explorer at heart, and not confined myself to a single stream of work or community, as wonders and solutions often pop up when different schools of thought intersect, especially for complex problems that we need to solve in today's world. I tap into photography, poetry, graphics, and crossing different fields too even within my STEM research. To me it's all about finding and sharing that inspiration -- inspiring my community with new ideas, the society with my research findings, and the next generation with teaching.
I see wonders in a lot of things, because there really are so many marvels in the world. I always love the moments when I make the connection in somebody else's mind, and help them see what I see as well -- the way their eyes look and expressions change. It doesn't really matter what the topic is, or who the other person is. Those shared moments are incredibly human, and it is from these sparks that many things are built. I think a lot of what I do is about lighting these sparks.
How do you want to leave your impact on the world?
I want to inspire, motivate, and connect communities to together build the innovative solutions of the future. I believe the biggest breakthroughs stem from human interactions and collaborations, and I want to part of that catalyst by reaching out from my world of scientific research.
Tell us about your leadership experiences.
I didn't always feel passionate about leadership, or had a knack for it. It took a lot of inspirations from peers and mentors, and experience accumulated over years. Since then I've been involved in many diverse leadership roles -- I once had the job of organizing my high school's official events with a team of 8 for a whole year, as the head prefect; I then worked with environmental coalitions and oversaw Yale student delegation at the UN Paris Climate Conference 2015, led a task force to coordinate university-wide research resources for Yale undergraduates, and recently helped re-organize and revive a chaotic World Youth Congress without prior notice. Yet, I'm still constantly learning from each teammate every time. Leadership demand a wide array of skills and approaches, where the best approaches are always shifting, like adjusting the sails of the boat when the winds change. I have come to understand that leadership is not about being the most powerful or talented, but more about helping each team member bring out the best of themselves, which, to me, is a grand mission. Ultimately though, what fuels me always is the close bonding of the team.
What is the biggest take-away and/or favorite part of your GREEN Program experience?
Twice alumnus of the GREEN Program, I always felt that a GREEN Program is beyond a simple study trip or wild adventure. In each of the GREEN Programs I joined (Iceland and Hawai'i), I was on a journey to discover more and deeper about the world as well as myself, to challenge my perspectives and reforge my character. Most importantly, these journeys were always shared with teammates likely having slightly different but equally momentous revelations of their own, which is why each team invariably became incredibly bonded like family by the end. This bonding and newfound family were what made the inspiring and eye-opening experiences in the GREEN Program all the more meaningful and impactful.
Where and When would you go in a time machine? Why?
Renaissance Europe. It was an age of intellectual revelations -- I often wonder how the excitement was like!