Former editor-in-chief of her high school newspaper, starter of a non-profit, and researcher for the National Institute of Health, 2015 Student Council President Jessica J. Yang ’15 took some time to sit down with The Tech on Wednesday to talk about changes going on at MIT and her thoughts on other subjects.
The first big question that we landed on was about Susan Hockfield’s recent resignation. According to Yang, President Hockfield chose a good time to step down — there are a lot of innovations going on, and all of them will require the attention from a dedicated individual for a long time from now. When asked about what kind of direction she thinks MIT will take now, Yang responded that no major changes will happen in the course of MIT’s direction; it’s main purpose, to help the word and change it for the better, is still the same, and will continue to guide MIT through the times to come.
Next up was MITx. While a lot of students expressed concern that it will detract from the value of a physical MIT education, Yang states that it is completely different — even though it’s a higher level than OCW and has increased interaction between students and instructors, it can never match the undergraduate experience here at MIT.
Now the fun part — here is a Q&A with Yang!
The Tech: What is it that you miss most about home?
Jessica Yang: There was a supercharged atmosphere that was influential in my growth after elementary [school].
TT: Is that how you got involved with the non-profit and NIH?
JY: Yup! There was always innovation going on, along with a huge amount of opportunities to get involved. I remember being able to take the bus here or the metro there — it can all be summed up by, “If you have an idea, you can do it!”
TT: Now about MIT — what have you enjoyed finding the most here?
JY: The meaning of difficult. Coming from IB and the D.C schooling area, I thought I had seen a lot of what tough was when it came to schoolwork. I was able to get away with pattern recognition there to make work easier, and I thought MIT would be just a little harder than that.
TT: And then we got here. . .
JY: Hmhmm, here, it’s like “Bang!”
JY: Yeah. This place is really challenging, and you have to use all of your focus for every class.
TT: I’m sure that most of the students can relate to you on that one. But how is that your favorite part?
JY: Because of exactly that! All aspects of this place push me my very best, both in class work and in everything else I do here.
TT: That’s really cool. What about least favorite dining hall?
JY: Well, I don’t actually have one.
TT: What! But what about Maseeh? No way!
JY: Haha! My first two run-ins with Maseeh dining I actually hated it — the second time I went, it was cold and rainy and I was soaked, and when I got there, all the food was already gone, and I had to settle for whatever cold thing I could find.
TT: Ouch, but what about now?
JY : Maseeh’s worked pretty hard on improving the food service it offers students, so that gives it points in that area for sure. We’ve been able to work with Bon Appetit to improve its interactions with the students on the Dining Committee here.
TT: The Dining Committee? How did that happen?
JY: Funny story about that! Well, I love food, and I have opinions to share on it, and one day, one of the people on the Committee was looking for a replacement, and that’s where I ended up coming on board.
TT: Huh, alrighty, Ms. President, we’re almost done! Now it’s time for the favorites. what’s your favorite color?
JY: Lime green — it reminds me so much of grass on a warm sunny day.
TT: Favorite food?
JY: Ah jeez. I like food so much, but if I had to pick, it’d be a pulled pork barbeque sandwich.
TT: Favorite class right now?
JY: 8.02, albeit I want to get better at it.
TT: If you could go somewhere for a month without any worries or concerns, where would it be?
JY: Paris, France! It’s a very different city, a very exciting city. It shares our western culture with intriguing nuances. I’d love to soak in the culture there; from European history class, there are a lot of places I want to see. That, and the fashion and food there are great. Finally, it would really bring a new perspective to how I see things.
TT: What pulled you to [being class president]?
JY: I’ve really loved this place since almost immediately after I got here. I wanted to bring unity, fun, and student bonding to our class to make a lasting impact here. I wanted to be more involved on campus, and I ended up here now.
TT: Finally, what would you like to say to our student body here?
JY: We’re really lucky to have ended up here at MIT. We’re at the forefront, and we have to seize every opportunity we get. With all of these amazing people and brilliant minds around us, we have to enable and empower ourselves to do great things.