Congratulations on gaining admission to Yale and on deciding to attend! As you begin to prepare for college, many questions and concerns may be flooding your mind about life at Yale. As peer liaisons, we realize that college is an exciting time full of memorable and challenging experiences. Yale is committed to making the transition into your first year as smooth and comfortable as possible, and—as part of the Peer Liaison Program for freshmen—we’re here to help.
To help you transition into college, you’ll be assigned a freshmen counselor (aka “FroCo”). Your FroCo is a senior in your residential college who will live near you and will help you when you need it. In addition to your FroCos, the Peer Liaisons (that’s us!) are also here to provide additional support. The Peer Liaison Program enables all incoming students to receive a Peer Liaison from any of the seven cultural and resource centers (Asian American, Latino American, African-American, Native American, LGBTQ, the Chaplain's Office, and the Office of International Students & Scholars). Details about the program, Peer Liaison profiles, and how you can get a Peer Liaison (aka “PL”) will be sent in a future mailing and are on our website (www.yale.edu/aacc).
We were chosen for our relationship with campus deans and faculty, understanding of the campus, academic record, and civic engagement. Our role is to answer any questions that you may have about all matters of life (getting involved, New Haven, academic support, social life, anything and everything!) at Yale. We work with your FroCos and college deans and act as your liaison to campus resources. While one of us will be the primary PL reaching out to you, we encourage you to turn to any of us for help or guidance. As peer liaisons for the Asian American Cultural Center (AACC) at Yale, we have experience with and can connect you to the AACC, the Asian American cultural groups on campus, Dean Saveena Dhall (Assistant Dean of Yale College and Director of the Asian American Cultural Center), and a ton of other resources on campus.
You can think of us as friends who happen to be upperclassmen seasoned at navigating Yale’s academic, extracurricular, and social circles. As PLs, we are here as mentors and confidants who can offer you our guidance and advice on the decisions you make. We recognize that each of you comes from a different background with varying interests and that each of you has different needs. As we approach the start of the fall term, remember that your PLs are at your side to help you find your way through Yale. Rest assured, you will have ample resources and support for all situations large and small.
We will be in touch again soon, but in the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns at all, feel free to email or Facebook any or all of us - even if it's just a matter of one of us majoring in something you're interested in. We are excited to meet you and can’t wait to see you on campus!
See you in the fall!
Kevin Chen '14
Hey! My name’s Kevin, and I’m a junior in Pierson College (yep, the one with the ridiculously long cheer) studying Cognitive Science as a pre-med. My parents are Taiwanese, but I was born in Indiana and grew up in a suburb of Chicago.
At Yale, I’m involved with the Taiwanese American Society (TAS), which hosts cultural, social, and political events throughout the year (often with great homemade food) and has an amazing family system for you to meet upperclassmen who act as mentors and take you out to dinner; be sure to sign up! I also work with ReadySetLaunch (RSL), a non-profit offering college counseling for low-income students, and Chinese Adopted Siblings Program for Youth (CASPY), a day-long program for adopted Chinese children. Recently, I started working at the psychiatric hospital investigating story recall in schizophrenic patients. I spent last summer in Nice, France, taking French classes and shadowing at a hospital, and this summer I will be in the Strittmatter Lab studying mouse models of neurological disease.
I love meeting people and eating food, so hit me up if you want to grab a meal and chat about classes, friends, or life in general. I’m a big fan of chasing cupcake trucks, learning to cook, and gorging on all-you-can-eat sushi, so no matter what your cravings are, I’m always down!
Jenna Cook '14
Hi, my name is Jenna and I am a junior in Davenport College majoring in socio-cultural Anthropology. I just recently switched over from Psychology, so I can also answer questions about psych classes, professors, and labs at Yale. I was adopted from China and raised in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Before Yale, I was a day student at Phillips Exeter Academy. I enjoy dancing with Phoenix--Yale's Chinese dance troupe, leading Adopted Yalies--a student group for people who are adopted or interested in adoption issues, and running the Teen Program at Chinese Adopted Siblings Program for Youth (CASPY)-- a community service event for kids and teens adopted from China. Let me know if you're interested in any of these groups... We would love to have you! My secret obsession? Running or being on the elliptical while watching "chopped"/"iron chef"/"biggest loser"/"say yes to the dress"/"saturday night live"/"modern family"/"glee"... oh! and the Ellen show!! What am I looking forward to most about next year?: Getting to know you! E-mail or Facebook me anytime if you have questions about life at Yale or just wanna chat with a friend.
Daisuke Gatanaga '14
Hi! I'm Daisuke Gatanaga, a junior in Saybrook College. I come from a large public high school in Southern California (West Coast? Best Coast!) with a large proportion of Asian-American students, so I quickly felt at ease with the vibrant Asian-American community at Yale. I'm really excited to be a part of this community; I was a freshman liaison for the AACC, and I was a Peer Liaison last year as well. Outside of being a Peer Liaison, I’m part of Yale's very own Karate club, and am active as a volunteer in the surrounding New Haven community, teaching science and math to elementary school children.
Coming here to Yale, I was undecided between the sciences and humanities, and I’m still vacillating between the two. I’m currently a Chemistry and History of Science & Medicine double major, but that may well change! I’m also thinking about potentially attending law school in the future.
As a Japanese-American, I feel strongly about my roots, and so I’ve spent the past two summers in Japan through fellowships. I spend last summer in Kyoto studying Japanese language and culture study, and this year in Tokyo to intern at the World Food Programme and conduct research.
Given my great experiences last year as a PL, I’m really excited to be back this year for the Class of 2016! If you ever have any questions – about pretty much anything – or just want to hang out, please feel free to contact me!
Paulina Haduong '13
Hi! I’m Paulina, a linguistics major in Berkeley. I’ve spent equal portions of my life in SoCal, Las Vegas, and Boston, so at this point, I’m not really sure where I’m from. Besides hanging out with other ViSA members, or running ALIVE meetings, I am a Teacher-Intern through Breakthrough Collaborative, so if you’re interested in education, I’m your girl! Also, I am a Co-Founder/Director of the Sexual Literacy Forum and I used to be an SCE in Community Health Educators; hit me up with any questions you have about sex and sexuality! This summer, I’m meandering through China before interning at the Berkman Center’s Youth and Media Lab (at Harvard, alas). Anyway, some of my favorite things are photography, violin, yoga, and cooking. I make a fantastic Nutella cupcake, so if you’re ever craving a study break, just let me know!
Winnie Hong '14
Hey guys! I’m Winnie, a junior in Pierson College from Grand Rapids, Michigan, majoring in East Asian Studies. Originally I was a member of the class of 2013, but I spent the 2011-2012 academic year studying abroad in China doing my fair share of diarrhea and soul searching (I highly recommend you take a year off, you really learn to set your priorities straight. But we can talk more about that later…) I was born in South Korea but moved to the US when I was two, fortunately (unfortunately? See what I mean.) I managed to retain enough of a Korean identity so if you want to talk stereotypical Asian American identity crisis stuff, we can still totally do that. Here I’m on the Yale Tae Kwon Do team, Thi[NK] (a North Korean human rights awareness group), UNITY (a Korean traditional drum performance group), and I like to pretend I can breakdance. Feel free to call me up anytime and we can grab a meal, just hang out, or have a crazy dance party. Your choice.
Ysabel Ilagan '14
I'm Ysabel Ilagan and I'm a junior in Ezra Stiles College, aka. Stiles (STILES WHAT?!). I’m a Filipino-American who grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, but now lives near Orlando. I like the sun, anime, dancing in the rain, mangoes, IM tennis, Hello Kitty, dark chocolate, my fluffy dog Charlie, boba tea, and being a big sister. I'm an MCDB (Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology) major and premed. On campus, I’m a proud member of Kasama - The Filipino Club of Yale (you should cook/eat with us!) and an active voice in the Asian American Students Alliance (I still bond with my KASY, CASA and TAS families – where the upperclassmen “parents” take their freshmen “kids” out to dinners and make them feel loved!). I also volunteer with the Yale Undergraduates at Connecticut Hospice and plan on continuing research in the OB/GYN department of the Yale Med School after participating in the STARS (Science, Technology, and Research Scholars) program this summer. I did not consider myself a science major until the end of sophomore year, and I encourage all freshmen to come to Yale with an open mind and take some classes you never thought you’d take in high school. If you’re feeling stressed, lost, or just plain confused – don’t worry, it’s natural. We should talk. I’ll bring the snacks.
Hana Omiya '13
Hey, everyone! I’m Hana (like “hana-lulu”), a proud Spider of JE, an Art Painting Major (with a strong background in Architecture and Environmental Studies), hailing all the way from Niskayuna (what’s that?) and I am so ready to welcome the Class of 2016 to Yale!!! BOOLA BOOLA.
Hobbies? I laugh tons, eat lots, and work on myriad art projects like T-shirts designs, portrait drawing, interior decorating at Mari’s Japanese Cuisine, set designs for musicals, and coloring an online comic book called The Closet Story. I love dancing with Pheonix Dance Troupe and eating home-cooked delicacies with friends. Pan fried pork dumplings and sushi are my specialty.
I am former president for Yale’s Taiwanese American Society (TAS) and Chinese Adopted Siblings Program for Youth (CASPY), which obviously means that I don’t speak a word of Chinese or Taiwanese In fact, I speak and teach Japanese at Yale’s Center of Language Studies. My foreign language is Korean, and I’ve had an amazing experience studying abroad in Seoul twice --- mouthwatering BBQ, ahhh.
Excited to meet you all!
Rahul Singh '15
WHAT IS GOOD!? My name is Rahul Singh, and I’m a sophomore in Saybrook College. I attended high school in Cleveland, Ohio, but I’ve also lived in New Jersey, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, and England (I’m actually a triple citizen of the US, UK, and India).
I’m super interested in economics, and I think I want to go to econ grad school. My major will be something along the lines of econ and math, but I did Directed Studies as a freshman because I like the humanities, too. Outside of schoolwork, I shoot for the Yale Pistol Team, manage the Dwight Hall Socially Responsible Investment Fund, direct programming for the Yale Leadership Education and Development Program (LEAD), tutor at New Haven Reads, and—most importantly—liaise peers for the AACC. I love to listen to Nina Simone’s music and to eat burritos from the food cart on York Street (try them out—they’re delicious!).
Hit me up about anything: not being from Connecticut, taking econ/DS, shooting stuff—anything. I was a freshman just last year, and I remember a lot about how it feels. I would absolutely love to talk…hopefully over a burrito.