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Vanessa Hsieh, President of Taiwanese American Organization

Vanessa Hsieh is living proof that no matter where you came from, you can find your squad at UC Davis. Originally from Taipei, Taiwan, Vanessa was drawn to Taiwanese American Organization during freshman welcome. Now in her third year, she is president of the club and looking forward to another great year. When she’s not overseeing shaved ice hangouts and boba fundraisers for TAO, Vanessa can be found hanging with her friends, playing badminton, and chilling with her two cats, Oreo and Brownie (but she’s an Animal Science major, so this counts as “studying”).   

Age: 20

Graduation Year: 2017

Major: Animal Science

Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan

Describe yourself in three words.

Passionate, responsible, and…CATS! Can I say cats? (You can always say cats.)

Favorite Davis memory?

My favorite memories are all related to friendship. How I met my current group of friends was through one person. I didn’t live in the dorms freshman year, and I met a girl, Tina, through badminton. I met her roommate and from there it branched out to my current group. I became really close to them, so that’s my favorite memory.

What extracurricular activities are you involved with?

Taiwanese American Organization is my main activity right now, as it takes up a lot of time already! But last year, I was involved in Asian Pacific Islander Queers (APIQ).

How did you get involved with the Taiwanese American Organization?

When I went to Fall Welcome my first year at Davis where all the clubs had their booths, the first thing I saw was the TAO banner and I thought, oh hey—I’m Taiwanese! The then-president actually went to my high school, and my Big was also really involved, so at first I felt a connection for that reason. Then when I went to meetings everyone was really friendly; it was a really great community.

What do you do at TAO?

Our club is a cultural/social club, so we do a lot of bonding events. Speed Friending (like Speed Dating, but for making friends!), potlucks, White Elephant gift exchanges for the holidays, etc. But we also do things like learn to make food and teach people about the different Taiwanese holidays. As president, I oversee the club to make sure each officer is doing their duties, and I also speak at most of the meetings.

What major events do you have planned for the year?

Our major event every year is a Shaved Ice party around spring quarter—we have a shaved ice machine and toppings like red beans and we all eat and hang out. Clubbing is also something that started 3 years ago. On November 20th, we’ll be having a dance party at the restaurant Sudwerk. Another event is the TAO Talent Show, which we didn’t have last year, but I want to bring it back.  

What have you learned from TAO? What do you love most about it?

The biggest thing I learned was leadership skills. Last year I was a historian and really involved, attending all meetings and events. I realized “Oh, maybe I can handle leadership too”, and that’s what led me to apply for president. The thing I love most is the people. They all made it really enjoyable and comfortable for me to be here.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m an Animal Science major, and I would be interested in animal-related careers. I’m also interested in behaviors—I’m minoring in Psychology, so I’d like to find internships or lab research related to animal behavior, maybe shelter jobs.

Aimee Lim is a junior at UC Davis, pursuing an English major with an emphasis in Creative Writing as well as a minor in Biology. Besides writing and editing for Her Campus at UCD, she is interning as a middle school's teacher's assistant and for the McIntosh & Otis Literary Agency. She also volunteers for the UCD Center for Advocacy, Research, and Education (CARE), which combats campus sexual assault, domestic/dating violence, and stalking. An aspiring novelist, her greatest achievement is an honorable mention in the Lyttle Lytton "Worst Opening Lines to a (Fictional) Novel" contest. Besides writing, she loves reading, movies, music, women's history, and feminism.Follow her blog at https://lovecaution.wordpress.com.  
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