HARVARD GRADUATE

Alumna Jessica Li

Delphian alumna and recent Harvard graduate Jessica Li discusses her path through higher education and what she values most from her experience at Delphian. 

 

I planted a seed in my heart some time during my four years at Delphian. This seed was about purpose, about compassion, about social responsibility. Ever since I graduated from Delphian, this seed has gradually grown.

   As a middle school dropout, my father lifted his family out of extreme poverty through his startup business. Influenced by his conservative emphasis on extrinsic rewards, I decided to major in business management at Boston University (BU) after graduating from Delphian. My personal integrity never urged me to pursue my potential until a professor asserted in a business ethics class, “Sometimes it is okay to choose profit over ethics.” 

Sitting with four hundred other “Wolf of Wall Street” wannabes, I realized this was not the life I wanted.
I thought about my biggest takeaways from my Delphian journey—ethics and integrity. Triggered by the professor’s opinion about compromising ethics for profit, I decided to pursue my true passion for education at BU. 

   One of the most important things I learned at Delphian through Student Council was social responsibility and contributing to your community. At a large university like BU, I felt the lack of purpose among us millennials. Driven by the need to make a difference, I successfully ran for an officer position in the Boston University China Care Fund. 

   As president of the Boston University China Care Fund, I provided oversight of the organization’s marketing, finance, and large-scale fundraisers for orphans, some of which cooperate with other student organizations on campus to create a greater impact and raise awareness. I organized weekly Chinese cultural and Mandarin classes for adoptive families in the Greater Boston area. I led our team members to create life-changing opportunities for orphans and at-risk children in China. Together, we sponsored the care of three orphans with congenital diseases every year.

   In my senior year of college, I became interested in international education and social innovation as I worked as a research assistant for my professors at Boston University. I decided to continue my pursuit of knowledge and develop my skills in graduate school. I chose the International Education Policy Program from the Education Masters Programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

   I took courses on topics including global education, leadership, public narrative, negotiation, statistics and many more. Going to school with people who were older and much more experienced felt quite intimidating and overwhelming. However, I was able to apply Study Technology, communication skills and what I learned about professionalism to thrive among the challenges I faced. 

   During my time at Harvard, I was exposed to global issues and I wanted to make changes on a larger scale. I joined a non-governmental organization (formerly a student organization at Harvard) called SEED for Social Innovation. As a curriculum designer and a finance specialist, I have helped organize elite training programs for NGO leaders from various fields in China. In this community of social innovators and change-makers, we all share the same goal of “seeding” a better China. 

   After completing my degree at Harvard, I began to work on my first job as an ESL teacher to the Chinese National Youth Ice Hockey Team and an instructional coordinator at an international school in Massachusetts. Every day I’m presented with exciting projects where I utilize my language skills, expertise in teaching, and understanding of multiple cultures. 

I bridge resources between Chinese universities and American universities to support the learning and growth of youths in China. My supervisor has been very pleased with my performance and communication skills at work. Until this day, I still have not met anyone who held me to a higher standard than Assistant Headmaster Mark Siegel did during the Business Trip in 2011. I am forever grateful for the knowledge, skills and professionalism Delphian taught me. 

   The seed in my heart I planted at Delphian will continue to grow as I continue to dedicate myself to my work in education. 

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