Tara Chen

This week’s campus celebrity is Tara Chen, a fourth year Health Science student who is the President of the Health Studies Student’s Association. Tara made the decision to move from Cambridge, Ontario and attend Western not only because of the interdisciplinary Health program and beautiful campus, but also the welcoming atmosphere she felt at Western. “I remember when I helped my older brother move into Med-Syd Hall when he was in first year, the sophs mistook me for a first year. They were so enthusiastic, engaging and friendly.”

As President of the HSSA, it’s safe to say that Tara has her hands full, working hard on new ideas to keep students engaged and figure out the best ways to fulfill their ever-changing needs. “My team and I are constantly working hard behind the scenes to improve the Western student experience,” she tells me. The team also works closely with school administrators and one of Tara’s biggest responsibilities is making sure that the Student Opportunity Fund (SOF) is spent correctly. “The SOF is our program’s donation fee and the money is solely used to improve the student experience,” she explains. “We’ve sent students to conferences, guest speakers, workshops and we helped launch the Leaders of the Future program with the School of Health Studies where we helped a HS student with an internship with the World Health Organization!”

Tara tells me that the Nursing, Kinesiology, and Health Studies councils at Western have been recently re-branded in hopes of creating a stronger identity on campus. Part of the re-branding experience is re-vamping the Health Studies Student’s Association website and logo. “It was really neat because we started off with a clean slate.” Tara also decided to add a creative element to the website, “I decided to add a student blog on the website to start discussion. The goal of the blog is to showcase what other HS students are doing.” Submissions for the blog portion are about different Health Studies’ students’ experiences with courses, volunteer work, an event they have attended or even about a hot topic in health care. 

The HSSA also launched a bi-weekly initiative entitled Students of Health Studies, also called Talented Tuesdays, in which Tara and her VP of Communications interview different HS students. “I’m so excited about this because I think it will allow us to develop a more personable relationship with the student body. I hope that students will be inspired to get involved with something they’re passionate about after reading about the accomplishments of their peers.”



Tara describes networking as her favourite part of being HSSA President, since she loves meeting different people in the Western community. “I really like working with people and simply hearing what others are doing gets me so pumped. The inspiration that people bring gives me goose bumps and helps me become a better person.” 

The job doesn’t come without stress, though. As a senior student, Tara has learned to juggle increased course loads and two part-time jobs on top of her role as President. She also participates in other extra-curricular activities like the Western Dragonboat Team and Taiwanese at Western. “I feel really guilty sometimes because I have to cancel plans with my roommates or friends. I’m a little ambitious and I become really engrossed into the projects I’m working on.”  Tara has come up with a schedule to follow, saying, “I have to plan out my day so I know where I’m supposed to be. I try to set out an hour each day to simply relax and take some time for myself. Sometimes I question whether if I’m trying to do too much. but I’m working on delegating tasks to my amazing team!”

Tara is in her fourth year at Western, but the courses she has taken this semester have altered her original plans of applying for a professional school program of audiology. “My courses have been focusing a lot on international health care systems and innovation which has caught my eye.” Tara plans on taking a fifth year at Western to  make sure she applies to the graduate school that best suits her interests. “Even though I don’t know what I want to do, I know that I want a career that creates change and helps people. I want a career that would allow me to cultivate discussion amongst Canadians and challenge the health care issues that are prominent in today’s society.” 




HC Quiz

Celebrity crush: Patrick Dempsey  

Guilty pleasure: Ordering a box of 60 chicken poppers from Papa John’s and eating all of it.

Pet peeves: Being late.

Dream job: Director of the World Health Organization 

Your biggest fear: SPIDERS, SILVERFISH, BUGS, you name it. 

Favourite TV Show to binge-watch: Grey’s Anatomy 

Favourite On Campus Location: Western Student Recreation Centre 

Favourite Off Campus Location: My couch in my London house