Meet Charis!

Now that you’ve met Carmen, here’s another core committee member of USAPPS 2013 – Charis Loke! As a fresh graduate, she’ll be around during our Klang Valley workshops to share her college experiences and look back on what has happened over the past 4 years. (Read her reflections studying in the US in this article of hers right here)

Are you ready? Let’s go and learn a little bit more about….Charis!

Introduce Yourself

Hello, I’m Charis, and I attended Brown University, which is located in the smallest American state with the longest name. I applied Early Decision to Brown because its Open Curriculum meant that I would only be taking

“Critiques are an integral part of creative classes; they help you improve and think of better ideas.”

classes I chose to take, alongside people who were equally excited about the class – much better for learning! It’s also located next to Rhode Island School of Design; students from both schools can take classes at either institution. So while I completed a biochemistry concentration, I spent a significant amount of time exploring and working with visuals (illustration, animation, design) and storytelling (literature, history, teaching).

What did you do in high school?

At SMK King George V in Seremban, I wrote stories, made websites, and was involved with the Schlumberger Excellence in Educational Development initiative, where I met two MIT students at a robotics workshop and was thoroughly impressed by what US college students seemed to be doing and how well-rounded they were.

Tell us about your favourite college class?

I’ve enjoyed so many classes for different reasons that it’s a disservice to pick one. Here’s a short list: medieval history seminar with six students and nine professors, where I learnt to read and write critically as a freshman;

“Nothing in South East Asia comes close to the range and caliber of the works collected in great, massive museums like the Met – a big plus for studying in the US.”

science fiction and fantasy illustration at RISD where I met a professor I would later do an independent study with; four semesters of German language, opening up a new world of possibilities including a study trip to the country; two (demanding) semesters of computer animation, because I learnt various parts of the animation pipeline and am now able to make my own 3D animation; African dance class because of the emphasis on coming together as a community through performance as well as a physical style of learning rather than the theory-based one found in academia.

Tell us about your favourite college application essay?

It was my Common App essay – I’d spent months preparing mine, having seniors check it, and turning it into something I thought would sound good to admissions officers.

The night before it was due, I threw it away.

It wasn’t me. I went to bed, started writing a new one at 11am, had my brother check it for typos at 11.50am, and submitted it a little after it was due at noon (don’t do this!). Because I didn’t have time to censor and edit myself, the new essay was more honest and raw, and, I think, better.

Best thing about your college?

Two things, the first being trust. It’s everywhere, right down to the educational philosophy of not having a core curriculum – students are trusted to be responsible and brave enough to choose the classes they think they need. It’s there when you can simply walk into a professor’s office as a freshman and ask if you can help with their research.

“Everyone loves African dancing and drumming!”

Perhaps most tellingly, it’s there when you say “I have an idea!” and the first response is “How can I help?”. And the second thing is the people – faculty, peers, staff, alumni. They really are a crucial part of any college, and at Brown they helped me grow tremendously in 4 years.

Did you submit an arts supplement/ sports etc.?

I submitted an arts supplement (files of my art, on a CD) and had my art teacher from one of my high schools write a short letter to go with it.