Five Questions With Ren Hsieh
Executive Director, The Dynasty Project
Twitter: @therealrenhsieh and @dynasty_project
Ren Hsieh is passionate about sports and empowering Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities, so it is no wonder that he leads The Dynasty Project—a New York-based nonprofit that uses athletics to support and enrich AAPI youth living in low-income neighborhoods. A fine arts graduate of New York University, Ren also continues his creative pursuits as the co-creator of the blog “Dat Winning, An Asian American Guide to Sports.” As someone who has made sports more than a past time, Ren shows how athletics can be channeled off the court and into the community to create positive social change.
Inspired by his commitment to enriching AAPI communities, we asked Ren five quick questions about the lessons he took away from his college experience. Here’s what Ren had to say:
1. Can you tell us where you went to college and what you studied?
I went to New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. I studied film production and Asian/Pacific/American Studies.
2. What advice do you have for AAPI students going to college today?
Study what you love. If you don’t know what you love, study something you find useful. Not everything is clearly mapped out for everyone in college. Don’t let that overwhelm you. You have more time than you think.
3. Was there a time when you stumbled in college and were able to recover? How did you overcome the difficulty?
I knew what I liked in college but never had a clear notion of how that was going to translate to adulthood. Like many of my classmates, I didn’t have it all figured out, as much as I wanted to feel like I did. That was often frustrating, but I was passionate about the things I studied and that got me through. Every day, every class was a new adventure.
4. What is the best lesson you learned while in college?
The best lesson I learned in college was that you’re not stuck with what you majored in. If it works out for you as an adult, and in the career you want to pursue, that’s great. But if not, try not to get discouraged. People evolve, often developing new and different priorities in life. It’s never too late to pursue what you really love. There is no blueprint that works for everyone.
Also, just as important, don’t ignore the people you meet, especially those whom you really relate to. There’s no place quite like to college to find genuine relationships with like-minded people that will be an influence on the rest of your life. People will open more doors than knowledge alone.
5. Were you involved in community service or civic engagement while in college? Why did you choose to become involved?
I was always involved in local after-school or volunteer programs. Even as far back as middle school, I had participated in programs that gave back to the community. It’s kind of hard-wired into who I am. My family raised me with priorities that made community involvement a necessity.
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About the “Five Questions With…” Blog Series
The “Five Questions With…” blog series—presented by the “We’re the Changing Face of America” campaign—features the stories of students, public officials, business professionals, entertainers, and other notable Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) leaders. These individuals are sharing their experiences in higher education to help inspire today’s generation of AAPI students to reach for success.
About the “We’re the Changing Face of America” Campaign
The “We’re the Changing Face of America” campaign is a national public awareness effort dedicated to increasing access and completion among Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students, the fastest-growing student population in U.S. colleges and universities. Launched in March 2013 by the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) and the National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education (CARE)—the leading AAPI student- and research-focused organizations, respectively—the campaign works through strategic partnerships to help ensure that access and success challenges experienced by the AAPI student population do not continue. The campaign supports the Partnership for Equity in Education through Research project, which works to improve educational outcomes for AAPI students.
What five questions would you ask AAPI leaders about their college experience? Let us know in the comments section below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
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