Occupational therapy student makes an impact through campus involvement, spreading cultural awareness

April 12, 2023

Ashley Hong smiles and poses in front of Quad and next to Quinnipiac signage on wall.

Aspiring Occupational Therapist Ashley Hong '23, MOT '25, has a passion for caring for her peers and promoting diversity through her leadership opportunities, studies, hobbies and involvement on campus.

Last fall semester, Hong was recognized as a Sawhney Leadership Fellow, enabling her to further develop her leadership skills and help create a strong sense of community at the university.

The Sawhney Leadership Program aims to expand leadership development and corporate immersion opportunities for historically underrepresented students in higher education. As a fellow, Hong attends various workshops with her fellow peers to discuss topics such as imposter syndrome, emotional intelligence, and our strengths in thinking, feeling, and behaving patterns.

Not only is she a Sawhney Leadership Fellow, but she is also co-president of the Asian Student Alliance (ASA), works as a residential assistant (RA), is a peer catalyst mentor at the Learning Commons and is enrolled in various honors societies.

“My experiences at Quinnipiac have enhanced my leadership skills by improving my time management and organization skills,” said Hong. “As I do hold multiple roles on campus, it can be tricky to juggle them all. However, I have been able to participate fully in all my responsibilities by planning out my schedule and staying on top of my work. I have also improved my teamwork skills, as I work with many different people as an RA and within the ASA e-board, so I must be open to listening to others and working together toward a common goal.”

As co-president of the ASA, Hong plans and executes all ASA events where she contacts outside vendors, reaches out to other organizations for collaborations and manages the e-board.

“The goal for the organization is ‘breaking cultural barriers, promoting diversity, becoming a family,’” she said. “We aim to promote awareness of the different cultures within Asia. We want to promote open-mindedness and strengthen students’ understanding of diversity and identity. In the past years, we have been expanding to promote more Southeast Asian culture as well through our Filipino and Vietnamese culture-based events, which I am very proud of.”

She hopes more Quinnipiac students feel welcomed to join ASA.

“Students should understand that the Asian Student Alliance welcomes students from all backgrounds,” she said. “What we showcase to the student body only scratches the surface of different Asian cultures, and we hope that students will take time afterward to do their own research to appreciate the variety of traditions and customs within Asia.”

As part of her goals of spreading awareness on Asian culture, Hong utilizes her TikTok, which has a following of nearly 70,000 followers and over six million likes, to discuss her cultural experiences as an Asian American. However, she not only connects with people through spreading awareness of her culture, but she also likes to connect in tight-knit communities and be a helping hand on campus as an RA.

She decided to become an RA to give back to the community and develop her leadership skills, she said. She also wants to be a friendly-face and reliable resource for first-year students.

After graduation, Hong plans to come back to Quinnipiac to pursue her master’s in occupational therapy.

“As a future occupational therapist, I want to promote diversity within the profession by advocating for people from different backgrounds to incorporate their cultural values within their intervention plan,” she said. “I also want to be representative for people of color and first-generation students within a predominantly white profession to show that it is possible for us to be in the health care field.”

Hong encourages college students to step out of their comfort zones.

“My advice is that if you have the passion for something, act on it. Even if it is a big responsibility to take on leadership positions, the impact you make on other students is rewarding.” 

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