Alyssa Ong

Alyssa Ong

Honors, achievements, and special recognition:

  • Undergraduate Research Award (Spring 2013)
  • Alternative Breaks Research and Statistics Analyst (Spring 2012-present)
  • University Honors Program Ambassador (2012-present)
  • University Honors Freshmen Seminar Assistant (2012-present)
  • University Honors Program Peer Mentor (2012-present)
  • Intern at Intel Corporation (Summer 2012)
  • KU-IIE Award (2011-2014)
  • Mortar Board Honors Society Treasurer
  • Beta Alpha Psi Member
  • Beta Gamma Sigma Member
  • KU Student Employee of the Year Finalist (2012/2013)

How I became interested in my area of focus:

I really enjoyed my first Alternative Breaks experience during my first semester at KU. When the opportunity arose to be part of the Alternative Breaks leadership team as a Research Intern the following semester, I decided to take it up and give doing research a try. Since then, I have become the Research and Statistics Analyst for Alternative Breaks and have been working on other research projects. The experience has been rewarding.

An honor, achievement or accomplishment that is most meaningful to me and why:

Being chosen to represent my country, Malaysia, at the Clinton Global Initiative University 2011 is an honor that is most meaningful to me. The opportunity to meet and interact with 1000+ student leaders from around the world who were passionate about solving pressing global issues was truly inspiring. Without this opportunity from my college in Malaysia, I would not have been able to spread this opportunity to students at KU and to meet many more wonderful, dedicated, and brilliant student leaders at the 2013 meeting.

Someone who has been a role model for me and why:

So many individuals have inspired me. Dr. Kala Stroup, Dr. Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett, Dean Neeli, Dr. Mary Klayder, Dr. Chris Wiles, Dr. Anne Dotter, Ed Healey, and most importantly, my parents, have taught me to work hard, to aim high, to pursue my interests, to not shy away from challenges, to appreciate the people around me, and to take the occasional break and have fun.

My favorite KU memory:

Walking on the Millennium Bridge towards St. Paul’s Cathedral with Dr. Mary Klayder, Sue Lorenz, and Ann Martinez the night before we returned from the London Review 2013. The view was breathtaking; I would do it again in a heartbeat.

When times get tough, something that helps me get through it:

There are a few things I do: praying, talking to my family in Malaysia, and baking.

An important life lesson I have learned:

It is okay to say ‘I don’t know’. I have learned in the last few years that it is alright to admit aloud that I do not know something if approached with a challenging question or if the topic is unfamiliar to me. The key is to figure it out afterwards and continue learning every day. And, if necessary, provide the other party with the answer after figuring it out.

If I had a sister just entering college, I would want her to know….

She should not be afraid of the cultural differences, this is what makes her unique and by taking the initiative, putting herself out there and being active on campus, many opportunities and exciting experiences will come out of it.

A favorite quote or saying and why it is meaningful to me:

‘Students, not just adults, have the ability to make the world a better place - all we need is an IDEA, the COMMITMENT to ACTION, and the BELIEF that it is POSSIBLE.’
– Clinton Global Initiative University 2013

This saying is meaningful to me as it highlights the fact that even at a young age, students have the ability to address pressing global issues. I really believe that the younger generation is the agent of change and through innovative ideas, we can make a difference.