Learn How to Get Involved With Krissy Wang

Krissy Wang

Hometown: Beijing, China

Major: Accounting

Minor: Dance

You will be easily impressed and inspired by Krissy Wang! She is involved in several organizations across campus and finds time to be a strong leader here at Wake. 

Her Campus (HC): What activities are you involved on campus?

KW: Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity is my anchor at Wake and has opened many doors for me. I joined APO in my first year. Before APO, I was only involved in W.A.A.S.P which is a program dedicated to caring special needs children in Winston-Salem through sports, games, crafts and arts.

Through APO, I have been exposed to a variety of service projects. On campus, I do Campus Kitchen, Campus Garden, Project Pumpkin, Hit the Bricks, DESK, and Wake ‘N Shake. Off campus, I used to volunteer at Forsyth County Animal Shelter and Brenner Children’s hospital. Having tried out a great number of activities, I realized that my main interests in service are food and cancer.

I have been passionate about fighting cancer since my grandfather passed away due to Leukemia which is also called blood cancer. I have participated in Wake ‘N Shake in the past three years and was honored to serve on the executive board for Wake ‘N Shake 2017 as the first and only international student whose first language isn’t English. My other two co-chairs and I were responsible for reaching out to campus groups, recruiting dancers, helping with registration, and checking participants in and out at the event. This past Wake ‘N Shake had the most registered dancers (over 1,300) before spring break and raised the most money in its history! I am now applying the skills I learned from Wake ‘N Shake to planning another fundraiser, Fit for Business 5k for Take the Fight, a student nonprofit aiming to improve the life quality of cancer patients and their families. I am very lucky to plan this event with Business school, especially as the only undergrad member on the executive team.

I am a firm believer of the notion that if you walk through the door of opportunity, you don’t slam it shut behind you. Through my continuing involvement in Worldwide Wake, a pre-orientation program for new students, I have been mentoring them by sharing my experiences, helping them navigate resources, and checking in with them throughout the year. It is incredible how well some new students have turned out even though they struggled for a while when they first got here. In addition, last semester a business school professor and I held a cultural event called “How to Speak South- A Crash Course for WFU International Students” where we introduced Southern culture to international students from China, Japan and Middle-East. I received many requests to do a similar talk again this semester and hopefully this can turn into an on-going event. Last but not least, I am a Business School Ambassador and thus I have been helping prospective business students to successfully get into business school.

HC: What are some potential obstacles international students go through coming to Wake? How do you suggest they work to overcome these obstacles?

KW: To start off, cultural differences. For most international students, when they arrive in the U.S., they will be immersed in a different culture than they are used to at home. At first, culture shock can make them feel overwhelmed. Even details such as ordering in a restaurant or talking to a professor can feel strange. My suggestion would be to prepare for culture shock and actively seek to understand cultural differences. For instance, one can go to dinner etiquette session at Wake and learn about social manner in America. Be open-minded and push yourself to make new friends as soon as you can upon arrival. Your new friends are a support group to help you learn about common practice in the States.

Second, social challenges. Many international students ask me how to make American friends. The strategy is easy: get involved on campus and meet new people who share your interests. Volunteer groups and academic groups are a great place to start because it is so easy to start a conversation with strangers at these groups by simply asking them, “How did you find out about this?” or “Why do you like doing this?” Befriend local students. Not sure how to do it? Try sitting next to them in class and offer to partner with them on projects.

Third, Academic pressure. Personally, I find that school work in America is radically different from that in China. There is much more interaction with professors in class and many group projects. Studying in a foreign language is already difficult. On top of that, international students have to deal with new classroom expectations. I would strongly suggest students talk to the professor and take advantage of office hours. The professor-student relationship is quite informal in America. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to your professor and inform him of any questions or difficulty you have.

HC: What advice would you offer for international students who want to become leaders on campus?

KW: Find your passion and dream big.

To be a good leader, you have to do things that you feel passionate about because passion fuels motivation and motivation breeds success. Don’t bend yourself to try to do something you don’t even like. If you are not sure about what you like, go try out as many options as possible and you will be surprised how fast you can understand yourself. For a while I did not want to apply for any leadership positions on campus because I was afraid of being rejected. Be brave and take a step forward. I would have never been able to do what I do now if I hadn’t submitted my applications and developed my leadership skills. You never know what the world has in store for you so dream big. The time has come for you to be great because you are.


HC: What’s something you love about Wake?

KW: People. I am very thankful that I get to know so many great talents and beautiful souls. By “people” I mean my professors, my friends, my RAs, the Pit or Starbucks workers… honestly, just almost anyone. If you ever get a chance to talk to Dr. Kurt who works at ZSR library, don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity!


Photos courtesy of: Krissy Wang