We’re wrapping up with the last member from the USAPPS Core Committee 2014. This bubbly and fun guy has an infectious laugh which you might be mistaken for a mad scientist.
Whaddup all! My name is Chern Wei, and I am a rising junior at Cornell majoring in Biological Sciences, with intended minors in Biomedical Engineering and Creative Writing. I am an aspiring scientist interested in physiology, developmental biology and infectious diseases (I’m a big fan of House MD). My dream? To run my own lab, and be the first Malaysian to ever win a Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine. In my free time, I slug around Facebook (the way you probably do too) but I also do poetry and prose composition for fun. I’m also a Penangite, and yes, I was born and raised with Char Koay Teow and Assam Laksa all my life.
What are you involved in your college that you never saw yourself doing?
I have no qualms about the answer to this: AIESEC Cornell! Quick intro: AIESEC is a student run organization (the largest one in the world, in fact) which facilitates cultural exchange. And how do we do that? Through internships! We send people from US (Cornell students for the Cornell chapter) to various countries (Brazil, China, Hungary, you name it!) and also bring people into the US for the same reasons. What have I gained from this? An amazing network and an incredibly diverse group of people who I now have the opportunity to work with, and learn from. If you had asked me a couple of years ago, I’d never thought I’d get involved in the process of sending someone to Milan for an internship.
What is your favorite class?
I took a writing-oriented history class during my freshman year called Witchcraft in the Early Modern Atlantic World (it’s an actual class!). What do we do? We read and write about actual 17thcentury court documents of witch trials from Germany and Salem (most of them were sentenced to hanging, unfortunately). We attempted to justify the relationship between witchcraft and political oppressions in Inca, Peru, and Kongo. We even speculated (and debated) on the existence of witches by scrutinizing various texts by religious figures on identifying witches and witchcraft symbolism. I could go on and on and on, but really, if you talk to me about witches and rituals, boy, are you in for a treat!
What do you like about your college?
Gosh, here are so many things I love about Cornell. The professors are amazing; I mean, they’re all really established in their fields and so freaking passionate about what they do, it’s contagious. Many of them are also really down to Earth, and truly care for their students. My Comparative Physiology professor takes time on Tuesdays to have dinner with us, to chat about Biology or simply random stuff! And my Organic Chemistry professor sings opera from time to time in class. We also have really good food and they are everywhere (no kidding, we have ten ‘buffet-styled’ dining halls, and over twenty cafes on campus). Not to mention, Cornell is located on top of a hill, graced by gorges and waterfalls. How much more can you ask for?
It may have been a while back but how did your application process go?
It was definitely no ride in the park, but it was also an incredibly rewarding experience. I think what made my application process so memorable was the essays, which were in itself, an amazing journey of self-discovery. I remember countless nights where I slept past 4 in the morning, not because I was stressed. But because I was so engrossed in writing, and I had these clouds of inspirations floating around me; I did not want them to go away! My Common App personal statement was finalized during the wee hours of the morning, two days before they were due. Oh, that satisfaction. Looking back, I really miss those late nights with my Iced Milo, and Lays chips. And occasionally my Curry Maggi Noodles.
Why is USAPPS2014 special to you?
Because I’m home for it! And because it’s another year to give back! When I was a participant, I was blessed and fortunate to have had so much support from other facilitators. Many who knew what advice to give when I needed some. Many who encouraged me, and told me to belief in myself when it came colleges applications. Now, I find it my own obligation to do the same. To give others the incredible opportunity that I was given. And to be able to help others achieve their dreams of studying in the States.