Campus Celebrity: Jessica Lee

Name: Jessica Lee

Year in school: Junior

Major: Biochemistry & Psychology

Hometown: Seattle, WA


Why did you choose to attend UW?

I actually applied to many small, liberal arts colleges, but when I was deciding which college to attend, I chose UW because of the amount of opportunities the school has to offer. There are so many research opportunities, countless clubs on campus, and so many people to meet. It’s definitely easier to make a big school feel smaller rather than to make a small school feel big.

Why did you come up with such an interesting yearbook quote?

When I was deciding what I wanted to have as my senior quote, I didn’t want to have a cliché quote. My friend, who attended a different high school, had the quote printed on her school’s chemistry sweater, so I thought it’d be funny to use it as my senior quote since I knew I wanted to major in biochemistry.

Did you anticipate that it would go viral?

Absolutely not! I used the quote for laughs and giggles, but I definitely did not think that my yearbook photo would be plastered all over the Internet.

When was the first time you realized it was becoming a big deal?

I actually woke up on my 18th birthday and my friend posted on my Facebook wall that a picture of my yearbook photo and quote was on Reddit. I was pretty embarrassed at first because I thought that I wouldn’t get a job, and I requested for the photo to be taken down, but by the time I found out, the photo was already shared on multiple forms of social media.

Did you know why it gained so much attention online?

I think it’s probably because I’m an Asian girl quoting Biggie Smalls. No one expects that from a small Asian girl.

Did you gain more attention at school because of it?

The yearbook photo came out about a week after I graduated high school, but even now, people recognize me as “the yearbook girl.”

Can you name some differences between how your yearbook quote affected peoples’ impression of you in high school and how it has impacted how people see you now [in college?]

People probably think I’m more relaxed and carefree now! I was a pretty tense, serious person in high school, but I think my friends believe I’ve loosened up and learned how to laugh at myself and the things I do.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I’d like to become a pediatrician, so hopefully I’ll be in medical school!

What RSOs/extracurricular activities are you involved with currently?

I’m the recruitment chair for alpha Kappa Delta Phi Sorority, Inc., which is the first, largest, and only international Asian interest sorority. I also work for a non-profit called Team Read, a local literacy program that hires high schoolers to tutor second- and third-grade students who struggle with reading and comprehension.

Which Disney princess do you relate the most to and why?

I definitely relate with Mulan the most! She is not only a strong, female character who worked hard for everything she earned, but she also serves as a great representation for Chinese culture in pop culture. Asians are so underrepresented in American culture, and I think it’s great that the movie demonstrates how cool Chinese culture can be.