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ABSA Officer Panel


Jennifer Lei

Hometown: Austin, Texas
Major: Management Information Systems/Economics
Year: 4th

1. Why did you join ABSA?

I kind of stumbled into it. I remember getting tabled to at summer orientation, but I was actually quite hesitant about joining a business org. However, thanks to some new friends (obligatory s/o Tiana), and thanks to a cool promo video and all the opportunities available for leadership, I ended up applying for a directorship and getting it. My experience with this organization has ended up far exceeding my expectations, so I can confidently say it was the right choice.

2. What is your favorite ABSA memory?

Company field trips! I’ve been fortunate and gotten to go on a bunch, and it’s always been a lot of fun getting to explore a city, visit company offices, and get to learn more about members I might not otherwise have known well. One of the coolest things we’ve done on CFT has been, in San Francisco, taking a ferry out to under the Golden Gate Bridge and going past Alcatraz. That and Chinatown every time 😊

3. What’s your favorite thing about the University of Texas at Austin?

How big it is. It was intimidating to me at first, but I really came to appreciate how many chances and opportunities there are. There’s a lot of niches people can fit into, and so many things to try. I also love Austin, and I’m happy to be going to school in an urban environment near the heart of my beautiful city.

4. If you could give one piece of advice to your freshman self, what would it be?

Enjoy. This is my last year at UT and I’m going to actually really miss being in college. I think I spent so much of the past few years being worried, uncertain, and anxious over whether I was doing as much as I “should” be. There’s a lot of pressure out there to fit into a certain mold or be at a certain “point” in your college or professional career. I had a hard time (sometimes still do) not comparing myself to others and caused myself so much more stress than I needed to. So, if I could tell my freshman self one thing, it’d be to relax a little and enjoy a little more.

5. What is your dream job?

I always feel like it’d be cool to either work at a gaming company, make my own indie game, or write my own comics. I like to draw and code, so maybe the gaming dreams are possible. I’m terrible at writing stories with plots though.

6. What’s is your favorite TV Show/Movie/etc?

I’m a weeb (shh) so things like Your Name, Fullmetal Alchemist, Tatami Galaxy, and Mob Psycho 100 will always be special to me.

7. What is one thing that you love about yourself?

My ability to do things despite being scared. To be honest, a lot of things scare me. I remember being intimidated by moving into college, the ABSA directorship app, putting together my resume, running for VP, recruiting, interviewing…basically many things I’ve done so far have scared me before/while I was doing them. But I’m glad to have done them and I’m glad I was able to recognize what was important and face my own fears. It’s made me a happier, more confident person in the long run. I hope it’s a sign of courage.

8. Name the top five things on your bucket list

  1. Get really involved in a nonprofit
  2. Finish writing a webcomic
  3. Finish knitting a sweater
  4. Travel to more diverse places (I’ve only ever been to the US and China)
  5. Get good at bouldering

Ziwei Ye

Hometown: Arlington, Texas
Major: MPA/Plan II Honors
Year: 3rd

1. Why did you join ABSA?

To meet you ;’)
I joined because I wanted to give ABSA a chance, but I stayed because of how much ABSA has given me: caring friends, supportive guidance, and a welcoming home. From the moment I stepped into my 1st General Meeting, everyone has been nothing but kind to me. They remembered me after initial introductions, and they genuinely wanted to get to know me. From then on, every time I see an ABSA member, he or she will always call out to me, no matter where we are. The members are always willing to go out of their way to care for each other, bringing medication to help me feel better, taking me grocery shopping, or, simply, eating with me so I don’t have to eat alone. ABSA has given me a home away from home.

2. What is your favorite ABSA memory?

Last year towards the end of the year, my branch decided to go to Enchanted Rock on an early Sunday morning (I remember because Chick-fil-A was closed, and I wanted to use my free 3-count Chicken Minis coupon). Even though it was early in the morning, we had a lot of fun taking power naps in the car, climbing (separately) up the rock, witnessing a proposal at the peak, and attempting to take quality pictures and failing… The little details of the trip occasionally replay in my mind again and again. It wasn’t until that day did we break down the seriousness among us. It wasn’t until that day did we get so much closer to each other. I am forever grateful for that morning :’)

3. What’s your favorite thing about the University of Texas at Austin?

The proximity to food – Guad, Dining Halls, Union, SAC, the list goes on and on. There’s always something to try/eat without driving anywhere (driving in Austin is hard). Of course, if you can drive, bike, lime/bird, bus, or even walk, Austin is your world. There are so many places you can explore, activities to do, and food to try.

4. If you could give one piece of advice to your freshman self, what would it be?

Be YOU. It doesn’t matter what other people are doing or what you are not doing. What truly matters is what you think is the best for you. Don’t get peer-pressured into doing something you don’t want to do. You are perfect the way you are. Just bear in mind that IF THEY CAN’T LOVE YOU AT YOUR WORST, THEY DON’T DESERVE YOU AT YOUR BEST :’)

5. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Imagine you are walking toward the ocean. The sand is very soft. The beach is limitless. The cool breeze is blowing past you. The waves are washing up onto the sand and receding back again and again. I want to live in a beach house working as a novelist… IN MY DREAM…

6. What’s your favorite TV Show/Movie/etc?

F.R.I.E.N.D.S

I really don’t think an explanation is necessary. IT IS THE BEST SHOW EVER.

  1. The quotes and humor (I have a book with some of the funniest jokes from the show !!!)
  2. Smelly Cat, Smelly Cat, what are they feeding you? – Phoebe
  3. How you doin’? – Joey
  4. Hi (in depressed tone) – Ross
  5. The most important reason: The Friendship and Love – It is realistic and relatable.

7. What is one thing that you love about yourself?

My ability to switch mood and tones in a split of a second: from jocular to solemn, from downhearted to cheerful, from punny jokes to deep emotional talks. I love it because people get confused about the situation and can’t tell whether I am serious or just joking.

8.  Name the top five things on your bucket list

  1. Backpack across the WORLD
  2. Bungee Jumping/Skydiving/Hang-Gliding
  3. Learn to swim so I can go shark- and dolphin-diving
  4. Own a Goldendoodle even though I am scared of dogs
  5. Participate in the world’s sleeping contest

Danny Li

Hometown: Grapevine, Texas
Major: Business Honors/Plan II Honors/Finance
Year: 3rd

1. Why did you join ABSA?

I remember freshman year when I actually committed to not joining ABSA, mostly because I wanted to branch out and do as much as possible beyond business. However, George (yes, the one on panel) kept relaying how great his freshman ABSA experience was on M-Team, so I decided to give it a whirl and attend an Interest Meeting. When I was there, I found so many people already introducing themselves to me, and from the initial pitch, I thought ABSA was a nice blend of a little of everything. So I came back for the next meeting. The rest is history.

2. What is your favorite ABSA memory?

I don’t know if this is fully correct, but I think on CFT app reading night, my branch got together and just began these subtle roasts toward one another. That was the turning point in Professional branch’s dynamic – we started out a bit awkward, but from then on, we found ourselves roasting each other ALL THE TIME. It was fun. For the entire. rest. of. the. year.

3. What’s your favorite thing about the University of Texas at Austin?

Its layout and location. The campus itself is of tremendous size and it’s near the heart of Austin, which allows you to explore so much (including companies!). Makes for a great time all the time.

4. If you could give one piece of advice to your freshman self, what would it be?

Be realistic. My biggest pet peeve now is people telling you “oh, don’t worry, you have plenty of time!” I believed in that for (in my opinion) far too long to the point where I had to make rushed decisions in some key points of my life that I really should’ve thought out. Yeah, harsh, but sometimes you need to face up to what’s coming with full preparation to succeed.

5. What is your dream job?

End goal is to become a professor, perhaps for a communications or business course. I find teaching to be one of the most fulfilling professions because of the ability to empower others. I’ve always had this philosophy that you don’t have to be smart to succeed – you just need to work hard. Seeing that play out through the students I help tutor only emboldens me to stay committed to that philosophy and make as much of an impact as I can (realistically).

6. What’s your favorite TV Show/Movie/etc?

Inside Out hands down (my phone wallpaper is still the picture I took after I saw the movie). I cried (and yes, I counted) five separate times so dramatically that my brother thought the sobbing was coming from the movie and not me. But honestly, I had moved three times in my life and knew how hard those transitions were for me, so seeing it all play out on film really hit home (or maybe I’m just too emotional).

7. What is one thing you love about yourself?

My evolving introspective nature. Easily. Sometimes it’s easy to get bogged down or caught up in everything that life throws at us, be it our career paths, grades, friends, and so on. Especially at this age where everything changes so rapidly, my introspective personality grounds me in humility and reminds me to appreciate just the small things I sometimes easily take for granted.

8. Name the top five things on your bucket list.

  1. Travel to the Maldives (have you seen the water???)
  2. Open a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing local educational resources
  3. Get a hedgehog
  4. Sharpen my video and audio editing skills (I really like making videos)
  5. Send thank-yous (cards or emails) to the personal influences in my life

Raymond Li

Hometown: Coppell, Texas
Major: Management Information Systems
Year: 2nd

1. Why did you join ABSA?

When I first came to UT, I really had no idea what I wanted to do. While many seemingly had their entire four years of college planned out, I didn’t even know what I wanted to do during that first week. I wasn’t tabled to by many orgs, and I only visited a couple. However, after my roommate recommended that I go check out ABSA, I fell in love only after the first GM and the rest of my ABSA story blossomed from there. So in retrospect, I really did join ABSA on a whim.

2. What is your favorite ABSA memory?

One of the main reasons why I joined ABSA was so that I wouldn’t have to pay for IM sports that I did. But who knew that playing basketball with ABSA would help form some of the deepest relationships I have today? Through all of the best wins and even the toughest losses, I was able to become closer with my teammates. In fact, I met some of my closest friends at college through playing ABSA basketball.

3. What’s your favorite thing about the University of Texas at Austin?

There are many things that I value about college and the University of Texas (they don’t call it the best four years of your life for nothing.) However, the best (and also the worst) thing about college is your freedom. Having the freedom to do what you want really builds you as a person, as it helps improve time management skills and helps you realize where your priorities should lay.

4. If you could give one piece of advice to your freshman self, what would it be?

Don’t “stay” in high school. College is all about meeting new people and expanding your network. While you shouldn’t completely forget about your high school friends, college is the best time to meet new people.

5. What is your dream job?

This is pretty lame, but the dream job doesn’t really exist for me. My dream job would be to have no job and still get money, but that’s practically impossible. So in terms of my career goals, I would really like to explore the field of consulting, specifically, technical consulting. I am also interested in data analytics, which is a field I would also seriously consider. Outside of the business world, I would really love to fly airplanes (childhood dream job).

6. What’s your favorite TV Show/Movie/etc?

The Dark Knight. There’s a reason why I’ve seen it more than 10 times.

7. What is one thing that you love about yourself?

Recognizing my weaknesses. Knowing my weaknesses has helped me grow so much throughout my college life. There have been many times when I have done things wrong, but learning from those mistakes has helped me forget about them and strengthen myself as a person. This has been important to me in college, and I feel that it will be even more essential in life after college.

8.  Name the top five things on your bucket list

(in no particular order of importance)

  1. Skydive
  2. Getting good at fishing?
  3. Becoming a master griller
  4. Get a boating license
  5. Get an airplane license
  6. Scuba license
  7. Pay back all the money my parents have spent on me (o.0 rip bank account)

Kelly Xia

Hometown: Katy, Texas
Major: Finance/Economics
Year: 3rd

1. Why did you join ABSA?

When I first came to UT, I had no idea what path I wanted to pursue. I knew I wanted to seek opportunities so that I can develop myself and prove myself. Out of all the organizations I tried, ABSA was the one that stuck with me the most. I was so fascinated by the officers and how professional they presented themselves (of course the promotional video also sold me very well). Right after my first GM, I made my decision to join ABSA. This organization has not only offered me opportunities to grow but also gave me a supportive community that will always be there. To me, ABSA is more than just a student organization. ABSA is my home away from home.

2. What is your favorite ABSA memory? 

After countless memorable experiences in ABSA, it is hard for me to pinpoint one favorite. However, some of my most exciting memories are my brown bags. I love getting to know people and having deep talks (forget about small talks). I think brown bags are the easiest way for people to bond with others. Throughout the past two years, I have had many memorable conversations (some lasted 3 to 4 hours) that I know I will treasure forever. So sign up for brown bags and meet your future good friends.

3. What’s your favorite thing about UT Austin?

The opportunities. With more than 1300 organizations on campus, there are so many ways for us to get involved. UT provides so many different opportunities for us to pursue our passions and to make a difference. #WhatStartsHereChangesTheWorld

4. If you could give one piece of advice to your freshman self, what would it be?

Everything happens for a reason! Don’t get caught up by your mistakes and failures. Life won’t always be rainbows and sunshine. Instead of running away from defeats, start embracing it. The greatest lessons you will ever learn in life are born from failures.

5. What is your dream job?

A travel blogger who gets paid to travel the world!

But realistically, a consultant where I can bridge my passion for business and philanthropy together. I eventually would also want to start my own nonprofit where I can provide a service for the elders. It would be amazing to create opportunities for the elders to provide values to the young generation through their experiences and stories.

6. What’s your favorite TV Show/Movie/etc?

Up! The love that was shown by Ellie and Carl’s relationship is just too beautiful. It has deeply moved me and reminded me of all the love that I was lucky enough to receive from my family and friends.

7. What is one thing that you love about yourself?

My memories. In my brain, there is an unlimited hard drive that stores all my vivid memories. Even today, I would still have a flashback of events that happened when I was three. Also if you ever tell me anything (even very briefly), I will probably remember it even after a long time.

8. Name the top five things on your bucket list

  1. Master photography
  2. Visit France and Switzerland
  3. Watch a live FC Bayern Munich game in the stadium
  4. Run a half marathon
  5. Skydiving and paragliding

Jenny Yin

Hometown: Frisco, Texas
Major: Business Honors/Management Information Systems
Year: 2nd

1. Why did you join ABSA?

Like a lot of people who end up joining ABSA, I initially came to UT wanting to avoid Asian culture orgs as much as possible. I grew up with a lot of people who shared a similar background as mine, but coming to UT, I wanted to break out of my so-called “Asian bubble”. However, one of the first friends I met at UT asked me to attend an ABSA interest meeting with her, so I hesitantly joined her. Yet after arriving, I never regretted my decision to come: to me, ABSA seemed to have the perfect balance of professional and social aspects and made me feel extremely welcome and comfortable. In the end, ABSA’s inclusive and friendly environment encouraged me to give it a try, and I ended up staying for good.

2. What is your favorite ABSA memory?

Strangely enough, my favorite ABSA memory was attending a small volunteering event during the beginning of spring semester called Micah 6. After fall semester, I realized I wasn’t attending as many ABSA events as I could have, so I made it a goal to attend more events and become more involved. Micah 6 was the first event I attended after winter break, and although it was early in the morning, the weather was dreary, and the task of serving food was tedious, I ended up really enjoying the event through getting to know other ABSA members and gaining insights from upperclassmen. I think the enjoyment I got from hanging out with others at Micah 6 was what encouraged me to go out to events more regularly and was the start of me feeling more connected to ABSA as a whole. I guess that just goes to show that you never know what you’re going to get, even from the smallest things!

3. What’s your favorite thing about the University of Texas at Austin?

My favorite thing is probably the fact that you’ll never know what’s going to happen to you and what direction you’ll end up taking. You might come to UT thinking that you’ll only want to pursue a certain major/career path, only hang out with a certain group of friends from high school, and only focus on certain things that interest you right now, but your personality and viewpoints can completely change in just a few months. Since coming to UT, I’ve experienced a lot of unexpected events, and I’m really optimistic towards what will happen to me next.

4. If you could give one piece of advice to your freshman self, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and get to know new people! Facing the judgment of strangers can be scary, but you’ll miss out on many new friends and experiences if you let fear get the best of you. Now more than ever, it’s important to be confident and to believe in yourself so that you’ll overcome failures more easily and accomplish things other people would be too hesitant to try.

5. 
What is your dream job?

When I was five years old, I really wanted to be a farmer for a number of reasons: 1) I could wear overalls every day 2) I could live peacefully in a rural setting and admire the vast blue sky, and 3) I could produce so much food to feed so many people. Being a farmer is still the dream for me, but I don’t think I have the willpower to start a farm and gain experience.

6. What is your favorite TV Show/Movie/etc?

I don’t watch TV that often, but my favorite movie of all time is The Princess Bride because the whole thing is a meme, and I laugh like crazy every time I watch it. I tend to like cheesy, old movies in general.

7. What is one thing you love about yourself?

I think I’m really good at empathizing with others, and providing emotional support is something I can always do for my friends. I feel like when other people see that I’m considerate of their time and feelings, they’re more likely to trust me and see me as someone they can rely on.

8. Name the top five things on your bucket list.

  1. Find a hobby
  2. Visit Japan, Korea, and any country in Africa
  3. Learn how to do the worm (or as I call it, the snake) like the true business major I am
  4. Donate $10,000+ to lung cancer research
  5. Attend my little sister’s college graduation ceremony

JoDei Pasasadaba

Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
Major: Management Information Systems
Year: 2nd

1. Why did you join ABSA?

I joined ABSA because I wanted to find a new home at UT. When I saw that my old VP, Victoria, was so enthusiastic about this organization, I tried out a directorship and quickly grew to love ABSA and its members.

2. What is your favorite ABSA memory?

One of my favorite memories with ABSA was carving pumpkins with my family. At that point in time, it was early in the year and I still hadn’t gotten used to everyone yet. However, everyone welcomed me with open arms and was so excited to see me. I was incredibly happy. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I felt so at home.

3. What’s your favorite thing about the University of Texas at Austin?

My favorite thing about UT is the freedom to do what I want- and there’s so much to do! There are so many amazing people and unique opportunities. I love being a longhorn!

4. If you could give one piece of advice to your freshman self, what would it be?

Life’s too short to be worried about numbers. You’ll also save yourself a lot of tears by focusing on the many amazing things you do instead of the few mistakes. I know sometimes life gets hard and it feels like everything you do is wrong. However, you must remember that you are loved and you are capable of overcoming so much- just as you’ve done before.

5. 
What is your dream job? Where do you see yourself in five years?

Nintendo is the dream for sure. More realistic dream job would probably be working at Rooster Teeth! In 5 years, I just hope I have a full-time job, some semblance of financial stability, and a dope anime movie collection.

6. What is your favorite TV Show/Movie/etc?

One of my favorite TV shows would be Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood! I love any show that has deep characters, socio-political themes, and/or well thought out plot that I can analyze. As for normal TV, I really enjoy Jane the Virgin and Psych.

7. What is one thing you love about yourself?

I love my passion and excitement about the world and the people in it. I’m glad I get to see life in such an exciting way. I love people, moments, feelings, and I feel so blessed to experience happiness in many things.

8. Name the top five things on your bucket list.

  1. Watch the Vienna Philharmonic live (maybe their New Year’s Eve concert??)
  2. Visit my family in the Philippines again
  3. Actually learn how to play the piano
  4. Donate regularly to my old high school orchestra and ABSA
  5. Retire my hard-working mom so she can finally relax :’)

George Zhang

Hometown: Houston, Texas
Major: Electrical and Computer Engineering
Year: 3rd

1. Why did you join ABSA?

I originally joined ABSA because I felt that it was the easiest way for a non-business major student like me to get resources, connections, and friends to support my interest in business subjects. I wanted to integrate the ingenuity of engineering and practicality of business in order to better serve those in need. I was very academically focused and really sought out the club for professional experience. It also helped that many of my high school friends and a couple of engineering friends also went to the interest meetings; I felt I could settle and grow in the organization.

I want to highlight the reason I kept coming back because it extends far more than knowledge. I became invested in ABSA because of the people. I joined marketing team (M-Team, best team) my first year and became a corporate relations director in the second. In my two years, I met peers that were not only accomplished but also humble enough to genuinely want to grow together with me. I found true friends that were willing to hang out beyond the organization. I discovered mentors that inspired me to find opportunities. Knowing I could have gotten anywhere if I looked, a group of friends and family like ABSA was (for me) extremely hard to find.

Join ABSA for the experience, stay for the memories. It has been, for me, the best place to start my journey on campus.

2. What is your favorite ABSA memory

I honestly have too many to pick favorites. The ABSA memories I treasure the most are the little surprises, from birthdays to various hangouts. One in recent memory was when we spontaneously decided to surprise our Executive VP for her birthday. After a heated discussion in our group chat, we decided we would drive to pick up cake and present past midnight and drive to her apartment. With some help, we were able to bring the cake to her room for the surprise. In midst of good-natured complaining, sleepiness, and laughter, I felt the warmth of our friendship; I loved these moments.

3. What’s your favorite thing about the University of Texas at Austin?

I think one of the best things about UT is the school’s openness to freedom of expression. UT offers a relatively safe environment for different voices to be heard and a multitude of organizations to plug into if interested. This diversity promotes learning about different cultures and empathy towards differences. Past two years, I’ve always enjoyed the freedom to be able to find someone or a group to talk to without judgment.

4. If you could give one piece of advice to your freshman self, what would it be?

Take advice from those with more experience; don’t take it as orders but more like suggestions that may apply to you. Generally, my advice would be to invest in your learning and take interest in what you do. Don’t worry about whether that is the thing you are going to end up doing; you’ll waste time thinking about it. As long as you are passionate about the actions you are taking then boldly take those steps, just make sure you are heading in the general direction you want. I’ve wasted too much time thinking, doubting, and wanting; I’ve realized I just need to apply the right strategies and work hard.

5. What is your dream job? Where do you see yourself in five years?

I want to be Iron Man. Jk. No, realistically, in five years, I want to be working towards artificial intelligence-related projects, particularly algorithms that may affect daily life and appliances and JARVIS. Basically Iron Man.

6. What’s your favorite TV Show/Movie/etc?

Kimi No Na Wa. The office. Mostly like action and comedy and scary (only if you invite me) movies.

7. What is one thing that you love about yourself?

I’ve always had a naturally agreeable personality and am much more likely to talk out and analyze issues. This makes me genuinely interested in other people and helps me to be compassionate. I’m also loyal and willing to invest in relationships. Always down to meet up or talk.

8. Name the top five things on your bucket list

  1. Visit Europe and its beautiful beaches like Navagio
  2. Hike the Appalachian trail
  3. Travel/start my own travel journal
  4. Own more corgis than I can handle :P
  5. Minister in a foreign country with a team