Five questions with the Florham Campus Pinnacle Award recipient: Shi (Porter) Yang
By Kenna Caprio
Shi (Porter) Yang is a triple threat — he’s studying political science, criminology and sociology and will receive his BA on May 17 at Commencement — he speaks Mandarin, Taiwanese and English, and has lived in Taiwan, Australia and the United States. The president of the Student Government Association at FDU’s Florham Campus is also an honors student and a member of the Campus Standards Committee. As the Florham Student Pinnacle Award recipient, Yang is one of the three student speakers who will address the Class of 2016 at graduation.
FDU: What's the best experience you’ve had at FDU?
SY: There are so many… When I arrived in America, it was my first time in the country. My friends from freshmen year are still my friends now.
Being SGA president is one of the best experiences… being an international student, and going from nobody to the being president of the student body! This journey has truly been significant to me. I feel very honored to have had the pleasure to serve my University, and to speak in favor of student needs. This experience has made me more mature, well-rounded and professional.
Another best experience would be sitting behind Hennessy Hall on a Saturday night, with friends, and talking and laughing about what we did freshmen year, and watching the sunrise on Sunday morning.
Shi (Porter) Yang, the Florham Campus Pinnacle Award recipient, will make a speech at graduation 2016. (Photo by W. Scott Giglio)
FDU: Which academic achievement or moment are you most proud of?
SY: Graduating in three years with three majors, and as an honors student. I feel very proud of myself because English is not my first language. Last semester, I maintained a 4.0 GPA, taking 18 credits, while working as a legal clerk, and serving as president of SGA. It was definitely stressful, but now when I look back, I am very proud of myself.
FDU: How has attending FDU impacted your life?
SY: By coming to this school, I got a lot of opportunities to go the United Nations and see the problems facing society today. It makes me want to do something meaningful for society. I want to go to Africa or East Asia, and do a small thing, within my ability, to help people. FDU gave me a chance to push myself beyond my limits.
FDU: What’s the most important advice you received during college?
SY: Never take people’s criticisms too seriously. As SGA president, I receive criticism. I’m human, and it makes me upset. But, you look at it, you review the comment and see if it’s true or not. If it’s true, make a change. If not, it becomes a part of you, and makes you want to strive for success.
FDU: What's next for you after graduation?
SY: After graduation, I’m thinking about a gap year. I want to go to law school and do immigration and family law. I understand the difficulties that immigrants face, so I really want to help the younger generation. I’m going to stay in the United States, and maybe go to law school in Boston or Washington D.C.
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