Humans of Cal Rotaract 2021

Cal Rotaract is a club full of selfless, diverse, and accomplished individuals. Each member contributes to the club in their own unique way, whether it be through service, fellowship, or support. We would like to highlight some of the stories and accomplishments of some of our Rotaract members through this semesters edition of Humans of Cal Rotaract. We hope you are able to learn more about these extraordinary individuals through their experiences listed down below.

Directory

Humans of Cal Rotaract

Alumni of Cal Rotaract

Humans of Cal Rotaract

Allison Lee | Los Altos, CA

Freshman | MCB & Pre-Haas

Why did you join Rotaract?

I was heavily involved in Interact during high school, and had attended a Rotaract Stayover at UC Berkeley! I was really excited to carry on my journey in Cal Rotaract because of the amazing people I met during the stayover. I like that Rotaract is social and fun, not just only a club dedicated to service, because I truly felt like I bonded with my family. I also enjoyed my first semester meeting new people!
What is your favorite memory/aspect of Rotaract?
I learned so much from planning the Interact webinars while being part of the Interact committee. I also had a blast participating in the family competition and the family socials (shoutout Mac-Os!) because the late night zooms were enjoyable and incredibly funny even though we couldn't be together.
What skills have you gained from Rotaract?
I have improved in my time management and collaboration skills through participating in the Rotaract events this semester, and I also was so inspired by the guest speakers who spoke about their life after Rotaract and how service has always been an important aspect of their life even after graduation.
If animals could talk, what animal do you think would be the most annoying?
I honestly think squirrels would be so annoying because they are always running around and getting in people's way. I want to know if they are annoying us intentionally, but it would also be funny to hear them vocalizing their thoughts about humans. They are super cute, but they are so mischievous.

Nola Vu | South San Francisco, CA

Junior | MCB & Public Health

•  Previous Exec Edition  •

What is your favorite exec/Rotaract memory?

I am the type of person that struggles to pick favorites so I would have to say in general, the moments I was able to spend with officers and members outside of Rotaract events have been among my favorite. Though I've had many great memories during club events, I've enjoyed the conversations, study dates, watch parties, etc that have occurred either in-person or virtually throughout my time in Rotaract. Whether it's talking into the wee hours of the morning on one of the Discord voice channels or learning how to play league, I have cherished the community I have within Rotaract and will always be grateful for the lovely memories that make my college experience more fulfilling.

What made you want to be an officer/ exec?

As cheesy and weird as it sounds, I wanted to become an officer/exec because I fell in love with the club. We really, really care about the community in community service, which is what I think sets us apart. For me, I joined on a whim, immediately met genuinely kind and caring people (shoutout to Jessica, Shelley, and Kate for talking to me at the first GM of Spring 2019!), and decided to stick around. This is so often the story I hear from other members of Rotaract and I believe this is largely due to the officers/execs that serve this club. Thus, when I was given the opportunity to serve as a part of the board, I ultimately went for it because I wanted to be the person who could bring the supportive and compassionate community of Rotaract to someone who needs it.

What was one of the most valuable things you learned as an officer/exec? 

I'm really grateful to have learned how to facilitate the achievement of one's vision. As an exec, I worked with many officers on executing their events and programs, all while attempting to incorporate their ideas and retain a sense of order and organization. It was my job to make their ideas as attainable as possible and to give them the confidence to pull them off. Though I love big ideas, it was important for me to learn how to transform these big ideas and inform officers on the best way to do this. An important part of being a leader and part of my leadership philosophy is to employ honesty to the extent that it will fuel success, which I believe Rotaract has strongly instilled in me.

Any tips or advice for current officers or members?
o members, I encourage you to try a little bit of all the types of events Rotaract typically offers. From committee meetings to fellowship events to general meetings to service events, you might be surprised at the range of content and activities, especially because these events tend to change from semester to semester. Of course, we always say you can "go to as little or as much as you like," but definitely try to give all of them a try first! To officers, as counterintuitive as it sounds, try to take a break from Rotaract sometimes. As an officer for Rotaract, you probably put in more work (on average) than an officer for any other club on campus. As such, watch out for burnout and look out for your emotional and mental health because balancing Rotaract responsibilities and the rest of your life can definitely be tricky. On the other hand, remember that you are only on board for a limited amount of time. The bond you will form with the other officers is unique and not easy to forget. Though you may be able to attend Rotaract events after your term, nothing beats knowing your work directly contributed to the event's success and its impact on general members. With that being said, keep in mind that neither service nor self should be above the other: striking a balance between the two will help you maximize your time on board

Isaac Lin | Hercules, CA

Freshman | Applied Mathematics and Intended Business Administration

Why did you join Rotaract? 

I joined Rotaract because I love volunteering and making an impact on other people. In addition, I get to develop friendships that could span over my college life or even my lifetime. Rotaract had a welcoming community that I really wanted to associate myself with and I also was a part of Interact which also contributed to my decision to join Rotaract.

What is your favorite memory/aspect of Rotaract?

My favorite memory/aspect of Rotaract so far is the community that's established. Going to the meetings and the events, everyone is so cheerful and excited and more than willing to help each other out if one needs.

What skills have you gained from Rotaract?

Some skills that I have gained from Rotaract are polishing up communication skills, google suite, and being able to express myself creatively.
If animals could talk, what animal do you think would be the most annoying?
I think the most annoying animal would probably be monkeys, gorillas, or apes because they are relatively similar in our genetic compound and can pretty much do a lot of the stuff that we do on a daily basis. I believe that they would be clowning us for having to rely on cranes, forklifts and other tools to move/carry heavy crates.
If you could pick any place regardless of time, money, etc, where would you go?
I would choose Japan, not too sure about the city, because according to Shuka and a lot of my friends, it is so peaceful and has plenty of things to do.
What is a piece of trivia you know that is interesting but also completely useless?
The voice of Yoda is the same person who created Mis Piggy from the Muppets.

Chloe Frank | San Jose, CA

Freshman | History

Why did you join Rotaract? 

I was involved in Interact in high school and wanted to continue to be part of a fun, professional, and service-oriented group of students! Rotaract has been an extremely welcoming community for me at Cal.

What is your favorite memory/aspect of Rotaract?

I've loved getting to support current high school students and plan events through Interact Committee (and also being part of the Shawns!).

What skills have you gained from Rotaract?

Among many intangibles, I've gotten better at prioritizing my time and planning and leading group events virtually. Thanks to stayover I've also become a pretty decent tour guide.

Alumni of Cal Rotaract

Andrew Tham | Short Hills, New Jersey

Year Graduated : 2019

Major: Economics

What was your involvement when you were a part of Rotaract?

I was the local committee chair for a year and a VP for a year. I was in the Freds family my entire time as both a family head and member.

How has Rotaract helped you professionally?

I think Rotaract helped me a lot in terms of the experiences in working as a team such as working towards a goal that you set and managing other people. There’s just a lot of great lessons when working with other people like the learned balance between how you should solve a problem and accommodating other peoples’ different ideas as well. Considering other people’s points of view and working toward a common goal was just a great experience especially since the board is so big and there are so many ideas to bounce off one another. Also leading a committee was super scary in the beginning, but as you get more comfortable throughout the year, it was super cool leading people about something I’m passionate about and conveying that to my committee members. It’s also really rewarding seeing how your projects come out and having it be a success.

What is the biggest takeaway/ skill you've learned from your Rotaract experience?

One main takeaway is being more confident and voicing your thoughts in a team environment. Right now I work in a team with other bank managers and other people, and I have been confident enough to voice my ideas in a team with people above you. Especially when I was working as a committee chair, the execs are above you and it's similar to how I used to voice my ideas to them. It’s a matter of just being willing to speak up which I definitely wasn’t comfortable doing in the beginning, but Rotaract helped a lot with. Again, everyone is working towards one goal; it’s about understanding that people will respect your ideas, so you shouldn’t be afraid to voice your ideas. 

What is your favorite Rotaract memory?

Before I was an officer or an exec, it was super cool when I first joined. It’s just really clear that the people in Rotaract are always the best people on campus. The reason I think that is because Berkeley is a school that really pressures you to focus on career or academics. If people join clubs, they usually join tech clubs or business clubs to further their careers, but Rotaract represents a group of people who are willing to do things for other people and not necessarily for themselves. I think this Rotaract environment is what has always made me feel like Rotaract is so special and interacting with all the people in Rotaract is probably my favorite memory.

If you could do anything you wanted without consequences or any restrictions (responsibilities, cost, time in history, etc), what would you do?

Eat at every three star michelin restaurant

What's a movie that you could watch over and over again without getting tired of it? Favorite scene?

Home alone, the scene were he starts his battle plan and when the guy puts his hand on the doorknob is hilarious

Is there a food you haven't tried before that you've been dying to try?

I feel like I have tried most of the food that I have wanted to eat since I’m a really big foodie. I will spend my money to try anything at least once.

If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?

Any superhero: Nightcrawler, I just want to be able to teleport

Tracy Chen | Sichuan Province, China

Year Graduated : 2019

Major: Molecular and Cell Biology, Immunology

Please describe your profession or career goals.

After graduating from Cal, I began work as a researcher in a lung biology lab at UCSF studying disease mechanisms of lung fibrosis, asthma, and COVID-19. This fall, I'll be attending medical school! Hit me up for the premed process at Cal c:

What was your involvement when you were a part of Rotaract?

I joined Rotaract my second semester of freshman year, and I honestly wished I had joined in my first semester because I instantly felt like I was in a "Home Away from Home" in day one. During my years, I attended all four committees: Interact, Rotary, International, and Local (you know I'm old when Rotaract still had four committees). I eventually became the International Committee Co-Chair with Ragini Ghosh, the absolute kindest human bean you've ever met, and later on the Co-President with the awesome Kylee Mebust. Some of my favorite events I've organized include hosting a mozzarella cheese stick sandwich fundraiser for the not-for-profit organization, CARE, and a book fundraiser for Books for Africa. I've been in many Rotaract families, with my last one being in the Mac-Oscars.

How has Rotaract helped you professionally?

Rotaract has taught me so many things, from communication and people skills to Photoshop and Lightroom skills. I loved that volunteering with Rotaract has brought me in contact with many diverse people, from the homeless to underserved children. The experience I gained from learning their life stories and working with them gives me perspective and builds skills that will help make me the best empathetic physician I can be. I also plan to continue volunteering throughout my life as a physician working in free clinics.
What is the biggest takeaway/ skill you've learned from your Rotaract experience?
I've found that Rotaractors are some of the kindest and diligent people you'll ever meet, with friendships that will last for a lifetime. They're there for you to help celebrate in your best moments and to support you during your worst. My friends in Rotaract have made a birthday cake for me from scratch, and they've given me a shoulder to cry on when I feel lost. I would highly encourage everyone to stay in Rotaract all four years and see what beautiful friendships and memories bloom.

What is your favorite Rotaract memory?

There are honestly so many precious Rotaract memories from swimming in Lake Tahoe during officer retreat to having late night boba and Asian drama watch parties. In addition, I loved that we had a pie baking competition for the Rotaract families once. My family, the Mac-Oscars (shout out to ya'll), made a delicious snickerdoodle cheesecake and apple pie and won first place. We didn't have a rolling pin so we ended up using a wine bottle covered with plastic wrap in order to work our dough. I also loved learning K-pop dances with my fellow Rotaractors and showcasing them at Rotaract banquets. These are all precious memories that I will not forget for a lifetime.

What is a quarantine hobby you picked up recently or quarantine activity?

I've been watching Asian dramas with friends over Zoom! Currently, we're watching Start-Up, True Beauty, and Strongest Deliveryman. I also started exercising regularly for a few months but uh...dropped that hobby. I promise myself I will pick it up again once the weather turns out warmer. I've also picked up playing Among Us, so hit me up for a game!

Is a hot dog a sandwich or not? Give us your take 😉

Listen, fam. I didn't live through four years of Cal for this. A sandwich is a filling with two slices of bread or a split roll. A hot dog is therefore, a sandwich. Also, I enjoy pineapples on pizza. Fight me on this c:

What is your favorite joke to tell or prank you've done?

I am the joke. *Cries.

1. Do you like raisins? If so, how do you feel about a date?

2. I'm on a seafood diet. I see food, and I eat it.

Sandra Chang | Diamond Bar, CA

Year Graduated : 2019

Major:

Public Health, Minor in Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies

Please describe your profession or career goals.

I'm currently working as a community care specialist for COVID-19 support.

What was your involvement when you were a part of Rotaract?

I joined Rotaract in the spring semester of my freshman year with friends. Later I became webmaster for a semester and the Internal VP (I think the exec system is different nowadays haha) the following year.

How has Rotaract helped you professionally?

I think this comes in two prongs - on one hand, I learned a lot about different service focuses by volunteering with Rotaract and listening to various speakers that committee leads would invite to events and meetings. Having the opportunity to also work with so many local organizations through Rotaract also gave me such a huge appreciation for the work that is done in our communities. On the other end, I think Rotaract taught me also how to work as a team to bring projects to life, and how to troubleshoot problems as they come. This is really useful especially since at my current job, teamwork and communication is extremely important since things shift often.
What is the biggest takeaway/ skill you've learned from your Rotaract experience?
Passion goes a long way towards making a difference in your community. I've learned so much from my Rotaract peers' passions, service-related or not, and I carry that with me every day. I'm always so excited to see what new things Rotaract is doing even long after I've graduated and stopped being an active member. I'm constantly thinking about topics that Rotaract explored in service events and other forums, and attempting to bring that knowledge and grounding to my current work.

What is your favorite Rotaract memory?

It feels like I've spent most of my time at Berkeley with Rotaract, so there are really too many to choose from. One of my favorite memories is from one of my first service events with Rotaract during Berkeley Project. It started raining in the morning and was fully pouring all throughout the service event, so everyone was absolutely drenched. But even though we were all cold and wet, I remember the site was full of laughter. There are so many after that first memory - from helping out with Interact Stayovers, to staying up brainstorming in Esh, to traveling together for retreats or service events (getting stuck troubleshooting bus logistics was a constant skill to be honed). I've met so many of my closest friends through Rotaract - is it too cheesy to say all my time with Rotaract is my favorite LOL

What is a quarantine hobby you picked up recently or quarantine activity?

I've been watching so many shows with friends, they've really been keeping me accountable HAHA I would be sleeping all the rest of my time away if it weren't for them.

Is a hot dog a sandwich or not? Give us your take 😉

A hot dog is a hot dog :') lol I think technically it can count as a sandwich, since a sandwich is any dish where bread serves as a container or wrapping for some other food type.
If you had your own movie, which actor would you choose to play you and why?
Oh wow if I had my own movie.... I don't want to subject an actor to portraying me HAHA. I don't want to name actors because I think I will be deeply embarrassed later and also they are simply too cool for me. The answer is that I simply wouldn't have an actor playing me. My own movie would be cinematic messy environmental shots (sorry to all my snapchat mutuals who know what I'm talking about) and a popping musical soundtrack.