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Young Alumni Spotlight: Zoya Hsiao, BS ’17 (Management)

Monday, February 5, 2018

A December 2017 graduate, Zoya Hsiao has a passion for serving others, both locally and globally. “I seek unique experiences that will not only challenge my development in business strategies, marketing, and event planning, but will also allow me to travel and live abroad,” she says.

Many of those experiences began as student in the Purdue Honors College.

“The staff and faculty in the Honors College really take to heart their mission statement, to ‘Ignite your imagination. Forge the future.’ The classes offered to honors students really challenge you to think deeper about specific topics, as well as broaden your perspective.” Hsiao says. “They drive students to consider current issues while preparing them to implement innovative ideas for the future.”

“In my freshman year, I took two eight-week courses about the culture and history of Afghanistan and its central Asian neighbors — things beyond the Afghanistan War. Besides redefining what a city is, or how terrorism is perceived in society, I learned things you cannot learn within a traditional classroom.

“One example of a unique opportunity I had was when I personally tutored an Afghan girl in English over Skype. She was halfway around the world and that experience was something that I will never forget, because I learned so much from it. The more I got involved in the Honors community, the more I felt like I was personally influencing my education here at Purdue.”

Working with Krannert faculty members Meara Habashi and Charlene Sullivan as part of her Senior Honors Thesis, “Perceptions of Racial Discrimination against Asians,” Hsiao also analyzed potential discrepancies of perceived discrimination against those with an Asian ethnic background versus those with other racial backgrounds on Purdue University's main campus.

With study abroad experiences in both South Korea and France as well as serving as peer advisor for Purdue Study Abroad Programs, Hsiao’s global perspective goes far beyond Purdue.

“I got to learn and experience contrasting cultures, as well as learn about the foundations of each nation that influence their societies today, which really influenced my philosophy and outlook on our world. Even though I'm a naturally outgoing person, my study abroad experiences still pushed me to step out of the box and be proactive in trying new things.”