In addition to my academic courses and research, I also take joy in giving back to the broader community.
HelpLine Volunteer for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
Mental illness affects millions of people in the United States each year, yet these conditions are unfortunately often stigmatized in our society. Since April 2022, I have been volunteering for NAMI’s HelpLine, where I answer calls and chats from individuals living with mental health conditions and their families/caregivers. Through active, empathetic listening, I learn each help seeker’s unique background, challenges, and goals in life. I then use real-time problem solving to provide them the best resources. For example, I have helped distraught family members find supported housing or crisis intervention for their loved ones with severe mental illness. I deeply enjoy and am grateful for these opportunities to hold a safe space for people to be vulnerable and seek help for their mental health conditions. Moreover, I love collaborating with patients and their families to help them overcome their toughest challenges and achieve their life goals. If you or anyone you know is experiencing mental illness and would like resources on living with these conditions, I strongly encourage you to contact us at the HelpLine by calling 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or by texting “HelpLine” to 62640.
UCLA Math Circle (LAMC)
At UCLA, starting from junior year, I taught every Sunday afternoon at UCLA’s Math Circle (LAMC). LAMC is a program I attended in middle school, where advanced students from all around LA come to collaborate and learn topics outside of the typical K-12 math curriculum. It was my pleasure to contribute back to this program. As an instructor for the High School groups, I have planned and given my own lessons, reinforcing my own knowledge and allowing me to practice my presentation skills. I have also helped other student instructors and guest professors prepare and give their sessions. Because we teach the most advanced groups at LAMC, some topics were challenging for me as I had never seen them before, but with preparation and dedication, I was able to get my assigned students to fully grasp and enjoy the concept. It is a truly inspiring and priceless experience to see the students’ excitement as they master new topics.
Summer School on Tensor Categories and Topological Quantum Matter, Fudan University
In Summer 2017, I was invited to give three lectures on tensor categories and gapped boundaries to a large audience of 60-70 undergraduates, graduate students, and professional researchers across the world in math, physics, and CS at Fudan University’s Summer School/Workshop on Tensor Categories and Topological Quantum Matter in Shanghai, China. This event was a very unique experience for me, as I did not simply present my research to experts in closely related fields. Instead, I started from teaching very fundamental principles in a undergraduate classroom setting, and soon was able to give everyone much intuition and insight into the more advanced research I had recently completed. At the end of each day (even when I was not lecturing), I often stayed for thirty minutes or an hour to answer questions from students spanning many levels of expertise, just as my UCLA professors did for us in office hours. After these question sessions, it was always so inspiring to see every student leave, smiling and having learned something new.
Here are the first two lectures from the summer school: