Meet The President of Knights & Damsels Dance Company: Pearl Suen

Pearltry Suen, “Pearl,” is a senior Mechanical Engineering student at UCF. Her hard work and determination in her many roles as a student leader, dancer, model, and engineer is truly inspiring. If you have the honor of knowing Pearl, you know that it’s inevitable her grace and poise can illuminate any room, and she’s the epitome of a role model for young dancers, models and students pursuing a career in engineering. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Weston, and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Pearl’s family has always motivated her to make the most out of her college experience and to always do her absolute best in all of her endeavors. I had the pleasure of getting to know Pearl a little bit better and want to share with you what truly drives her passions and goals, and what honest advice she has to offer other UCF students.

Tell us what your involvement is like at UCF:

I am currently pursuing a Bachelor's of Science in Mechanical Engineering. I’ve been enrolled as a full-time student for all fall/summer/spring semesters since fall of 2012 until now. Currently, I am the President of Knights and Damsels Dance Company and have been a part of this student-run organization since the very first day it was founded in 2012. I have also been a part of the Society of Automotive Engineers club, working on the Powertrain-Cooling system with other fellow brilliant engineers that I study with.

What’s your involvement like outside of UCF?

Outside of UCF, I work at approximately 20-30 hours at my internship with RTM Engineering Consultants. This particular engineering firm is an HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) firm that designs mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems for residential and commercial buildings all across the U.S.

Additionally, I am the assistant manager for Fierce Entertainment Management with Orlando International Fashion Week. This company has been growing immensely as it hosts two weeks of major events, during the spring and fall. These events call in all industry professionals, entertainment groups/mixers, fashion, models, and style all while promoting the diversity of the beautiful international world we live in.

Aside from all the logistics, I also am a model and a part-time ballet teacher.

What’s your favorite part about being a dancer?

My favorite part about being a dancer would have to be the freedom that this art allows me to feel. In today’s world, everybody is leaning toward speed, efficiency, and productivity. Those three kinds of words naturally develop and crave for structure and logistics to achieve the optimum level that we strive for. And dance does the exact opposite of that. You can take one movement, and do whatever you want with it. Although there may be some guidance on how certain movements can look, there are no limitations on how to move and what to do…the saying is true—the floor is all yours!

How did you get started in modeling?

I actually started as a dancer doing some photoshoots for an up-and-coming photographer at my local dance studio in Academy of Arts. She had me model in some statement pieces and gave me a few props to work with, and in the beating hot sun of mid-July…I thought I was destined for failure. But with the help of my beloved pointe shoes, I made it work! And it was so much fun.

Experiencing the silent acting that modeling can provide is one of my favorites, especially since I’m so shy. But I’d have to say, the great thing about modeling is being able to love yourself and not let the camera override who you are and what you do. The wonderful thing about photography is that it can catch the split second of life’s best moments…and that’s what I think of every time I get in front of the camera. This doesn’t mean that I don’t worry about what other people think of me, because believe me…that’s the one thing I constantly worry about whenever I step into a room. I’m aware that I look down a lot whenever I walk and am nervous about other people’s judgement of me, but that’s still something I’m working on changing. We’ve all got our flaws and insecurities, whatever the reason may be…and I love it. It’s what makes us human.

Who inspires you the most?

It’s natural to say that my parents inspire me the most, but it has nothing to do with them being my parents. My parents inspire me because of their passions and the truly good-hearted spirits that they carry with them everywhere they go. I can admit that I’m biased, but after sacrificing every penny, every minute of work/sleep, and every bit of love to migrate from Hong Kong and start from ground zero in Florida….my respect for them is profound. I couldn’t be any luckier to be standing where I am now. And that’s my drive to keep going, work hard and do good for society.

What’s been the most rewarding thing you’ve done while at UCF?

Looking back, I think the most rewarding thing is knowing that I kept trudging through the stormy weathers to see the sunshine today. In my family, my parents are both hairstylists and I’m the first generation child to have the opportunity to study at a university, and let alone be able to pursue engineering. I don’t say this to brag by any means, it’s definitely something that I am proud to carry the family name wherever I go, but I say this because I was exposed to so much and had to learn the good things…and of course the bad things. Throughout the years, I’ve gone through a lot of obstacles and bumpy roads, learning that people will use you and abuse you... and there were too many times that I really wanted to give up. And I’m not sure if I had the “aha!” moment that made me want to keep going through the hard times I faced, but I had good people to help me get through it and jump hurdles together. The people you meet are the ones that will make you stay or make you go. And I was lucky to meet good people at the right time because the race to the finish line no longer meant a one-man winner, it’s done with a team. 

What are your plans after graduation?

I am excited to share that I will be a full-time Mechanical Engineer with RTM Engineering Consultants, so I will be staying in Orlando. That’s about the most definite plan that I have for after graduation, but I’m looking forward to working toward a stable financial background and letting my thoughts and motivations take me wherever they may wish.

What advice would you give to other student leaders?

I’d have to say…believe yourself. And in my head, there’s a fun Disney channel song that should be playing as I’m saying these words, but it’s true.

Believe that you’re not crazy for wanting above and beyond. Believe that you can do all that there is to do to achieve your outcome. Believe that you will have like-minded people to work together toward the same goal. Believe that all the wrongs do eventually make a right. And lastly, believe that your dream will come true, even during the times that it may seem like it won’t or is too far away.

If you could sum up your experience at UCF the past 4 years in one word, what would it be?

BREATHE.

No matter who you are, what you’re doing, where you’re going, and how you’re doing it…all of it is achievable. This is not something to be cliché about or generic, but all it takes is 10 seconds to take a deep breath and let your mind reassess the path that you’re currently on and what direction you want to take. It’ll all be OK.