Alumni Spotlight: Wai Hou (Harry) Sio

BA Graphic Design, 2020

During his time at SJSU, Harry was part of the inaugural Global Leader team at ISSS and an active member of our Global Spartan community. He was also our undergraduate student speaker at our spring 2020 graduation celebration, and he continues to give back to our community by volunteering as a Global Leader.

What are you doing now?

I am studying interaction design at CSU East Bay (graduate program).

What is your most favorite memory of SJSU?

Being a part of the Global Leaders, joining a lot of campus events, and meeting some talented international students.

How has your SJSU experience impacted your life either personally or professionally?

I joined a group called International Circle, and it changed my first semester at SJSU. It created a safe space for me to share my struggles and I met some great people, and some of them become my mentors.

Being part of the Global Leader team, I got a lot of chances to speak with strangers. To be honest, I didn’t want that. My dream job was a job that I don’t need to talk. The more I talked as a Global Leader, I started to enjoy it. Now these skills help me so much as a UX designer, because part of my job is to interview with users and present my ideas.

What do you wish you would have known sooner about life in the U.S. or about being an international student at SJSU?

Find an on-campus job or organization that has weekly regular meeting, that how I dive into the community

What advice would you give to current international students?

Network crazy on Linkedin! Talk to people that are working in your favorite field. Most people will respond to you since they are very nice.

Student Spotlight: Hungyeh (Alvin) Lin

Alvin Lin

Hung Yeh (Alvin) Lin

Major: Computer Science, BS

Home Town: Taipei, Taiwan

Alvin is the undergraduate recipient of the 2020 Louie Barozzi International Scholarship.

What is your dream job?

My dream job is to initiate a start-up to mitigate the gap of education between the rich and the poor using technology.

What types of activities are you involved in at SJSU or in your community?

I am involved in programming competitions and research work with CS professors.

What is something you want others to know about your hometown, home country, or culture?

Many people love boba, but few know where it comes from. Yes, it is from Taiwan, and there are thousands of boba shops in Taiwan. Come to Taiwan, and you will never regret it.

What do you enjoy most about SJSU?

What I love about SJSU is that the school gym is so huge and full of professional equipment. I always spend one to two hours in the gym before class. Sometimes, I meet friends or make friends in the gym. Working out really relieves my tension from the coursework.

Where is your favorite spot on campus and why?

My favorite spot on campus is the 6th, 7th, and 8th floor in the library. The library is so quiet, and it has a very beautiful view that I can focus on studying and take a break when I am tired.

What do you wish you would have known sooner about life in the U.S. or SJSU?

I wish I would have known that there are abundant resources on campus, such as professors, clubs, and classmates. I always feel surprised when I talk to people on campus because many of them are doing really cool things and I would never discover it if I did not talk to them. For example, I did not know there was a AI club until I talked to a CS professor. Hence, I wish I would have talked to every person I met although it is almost impossible. But trust me, you will find out that everyone is your friend, and they can help succeed on campus.

What message do you have for our Global Spartan community?

Slow down and enjoy the school life. Make friends and help others because they will come back and help you as well.

Student Spotlight: Hazel Choi

Hazel Choi

Haeseo (Hazel) Choi

Graduate Student

Major: Urban & Regional Planning, MA

Home Town: Seoul, South Korea

Hazel has been a Global Leader with ISSS since 2019. She is also the recipient of the 2020 Louie Barozzi International Scholarship. 

What is your dream job?

City Planner or Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Analyst

What types of activities are you involved in at SJSU or in your community?

  • SJSU Recognized Student Organizations: Urban Planning Coalition, TRANSITion, 
  • On-campus job: Global Leader at ISSS, 
  • Community Organization: CommUniverCity 

What is something you want others to know about your hometown, home country, or culture?

The city of Seoul consists of various colors. The city, for example, has a high-tech aspect in the Gangnam area, and shows more traditional history in the Gangbuk area. One of the hottest places is Itaewon, where diverse ethnicities and cultures are mixed together. I also strongly recommend eating street food if you visit Seoul. There are so many kinds, such as Eomuk, Bung-eo-ppang, Tteok-bokki, which is very delicious and cheap!

What do you enjoy most about SJSU?

I take advantage of the school’s various resources as an SJSU student. Academically, I use the Writing Center to review my assignments once more before submitting them. In particular, graduate students can meet with tutors for 1 hour. I have also joined student organizations that are related to my major. Through these organizations, I received financial support for conferences or seminars that I wanted to attend. Finally, I have learned professional skills and tips that I was unfamiliar with as a foreigner and built networking by attending events hosted by ISSS or the Career Center. 

Where is your favorite spot on campus and why?

My favorite place within the school is the Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery in the art building. Sometimes I get too stressed out, or if I want to go somewhere quiet, I take my time there while disconnecting from the world for a while.

What do you wish you would have known sooner about life in the U.S. or SJSU?

At first, I had difficulty communicating with professors and American students. It would have been helpful to know a little earlier about how important emails are in the U.S. After time to get over it, I Immediately contact and confirm with professors regarding any confusing matters related to the class. In addition, I first shared articles related to the class by email to my classmates and formed a friendship with them. It is also important to check the email frequently as various school updates are notified through email.

What message do you have for our Global Spartan community?

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone, but I think it creates anxiety and uncertainty, especially for those studying abroad. We can only take classes online and have fewer opportunities to experience various American cultures. At this point, I think it’s important to look back on why we are attending SJSU. I believe we’ve all come here to achieve our own goals. Think positively and hope that everyone will endure well at this time. Best wishes for this new semester!!

Scholar Spotlight: Sergio Ortiz

Photo of Sergio Ortiz Valdes

Sergio Ortiz Valdes

Sergio Ortiz Valdés, Ph.D.

Visiting Scholar

Home Country: Mexico

Home Institution: Tecnológico de Monterrey

Dr. Sergio Ortiz Valdés is the Director of the California Office of the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, also known as Tecnológico de Monterrey. He is currently a Visiting Faculty member within the College of Professional & Global Education (CPGE) at SJSU.

What is your dream job?

Bring new ideas for cross cultural teamwork, internationalization and academic mobility.

What types of activities are you involved in at SJSU or in your community?

Sports, and a member of San José Museum of Art.

What is something you want others to know about your hometown, home country, or culture?

Hospitality, capacity to accept other cultures, the mixture of different races and origins that create Mexican Culture.

What do you enjoy most about SJSU?

The multicultural environment.

Where is your favorite spot on campus and why?

The statues of Tom Smith and John Carlos, because they symbolize justice, civil rights and fight for the same opportunities for all.

Smith Carlos Statue (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

What do you wish you would have known sooner about life in the U.S. or SJSU?

Housing possibilities

What message do you have for our Global Spartan community?

University education is an opportunity to help others.

Student Spotlight: Haojun Song

photo of Haojun Song

Haojun Song 

Undergraduate Senior

Major: Biology

Hometown: Beijing, China

What is your dream job?

My dream job is to become a professor and study at SJSU is a cornerstone on my path.

What types of activities are you involved in at SJSU or in your community?

I’m a Student Assistant, Global Leader at ISSS, Member of the Biology Student Association and Member of the SVCA.

What is something you want others to know about your hometown, home country, or culture?

A fun fact about Beijing. Beijing was the 16th name given to the city. The city was first named Beijing, literally translates as Northern Capital, during the Ming Dynasty. The Emperor Yongle made his northern fief as the second capital along with Nanjing (Southern Capital), and that was how Beijing was named. Interestingly after Year 1368, the name was changed between Beijing and Beiping 6 times until now!

What do you enjoy most about SJSU?

I enjoy the blend of diverse cultures and hospitality of students and faculties.

Where is your favorite spot on campus and why?

I always go to the eighth floor of the northeast corner of the library to relax and study. It’s a quiet area with nice cosy sofas and large picture windows which are large enough to make you feel like you are embracing the city of San Jose when you look out. It’s a great spot and my favorite spot of mine!

What do you wish you would have known sooner about life in the U.S. or SJSU?

As an international student, I wish I’d known sooner there would always be a place for us in SJSU, like ISSS, Global Student Network, etc. There are also places to find community from the events hosted by the ISSS. It’s important to join those events to make our journey at SJSU even more flourish.

What message do you have for our Global Spartan community?

Enjoy the beautiful time while studying here at SJSU!