Heroes of CKI

Taylor Jade Yee







Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Fontana, CA (born in NY)



Why did you join Circle K?

Um, I joined Circle K because I did Key Club in high school, and I really enjoyed doing community service so I wanted to continue doing that in college as well. Also I really like, um, the whole Kiwanis family. I think that it’s really cool that like, at each stage of life there’s a different way to be involved in the same family. And I like how they’re all connected like that.

Yeah, totally! What division were you in in Key Club, and how were you involved in it?

I was Division 15, Giraffes. Um, I was secretary for one year. My senior year, so I guess 2014 to 2015.

Did you have a Circle K moment?

I think it was at one of the Chow Nights, I can’t remember what year I was. My memory is so bad! But, I think at Chow Night, I was-- For a lot of the events I did at Key Club, we would like package foods, or package boxes of toiletries and stuff, but I never really got to see like, the actual people that it went to. So for when we have Chow Night, it’s really nice being able to actually serve the people in the community, face-to-face. And like, I don’t know. I felt kind of emotional for the first time that I did it, ‘cause I was like, “Oh, wow… I’m actually helping someone eat today,” and I guess I wasn’t used to seeing, in first-person, what my efforts were actually going towards.

Aww! I know what you mean. There’s rarely any opportunities where you get to see, directly, the impact you’re having on someone. So why did you want to be a family head for this term?

I thought being family head was like a really cool position, um, ever since my first year. Last year I chose to do MD&E, but after doing that, I still really did want to do family head ‘cause I feel like there’s… you’re like the bridge between the rest of the board and the general members. And I feel like, especially for new incoming freshmen, families can play a really big role, ‘cause like, it’s a smaller group and it’s easier to get to know people that way. And I thought it was kind of nice, for me, to be able to talk to someone that was an upperclassman. So I wanted to like, try and help to also provide that kind of experience to incoming freshmen also. If that makes sense.

Yeah, no definitely. I actually really admire that, ‘cause I mean, I’m not bad at talking to people, but I just feel like… It’s like a huge part of your job, you know?

Yeah. I also feel like I’m not that good at talking to people, but I think-- Well, for me, I’m like, pretty shy, so I think I’m better at connecting with the shyer people. Yeah. ‘Cause my first year I was super shy and really scared to come out to a lot of stuff. So… the people that were more quiet, I was able to feel more comfortable around them first, I think. Yeah.

Why did you choose to do Pharmaceutical Chemistry for your major?

So in high school, I took Honors Chemistry my sophomore year, and that was the first subject that I was like, “Wow, I really enjoy this stuff,” but I was really bad at it. [Laughs.] I had to practice a lot more than my classmates, which was really tiring and also really frustrating, ‘cause other people would just get it right away and I’m like, “I don’t…” But it didn’t seem like a pain to practice, ‘cause I really enjoyed it, and I think it has a part to do with the teacher that I had. That was my first time having an Asian teacher, I guess, so I don’t know, I kind of looked up to her a lot in that way. Um, so then I had her again for AP Chemistry the next year, and I got really involved in the club that she advises for, called Science Olympiad. And I had a lot of fun in that and there was an event that had to do a lot with chemistry. But yeah, after taking her class and being in that club, I realized that I really like chemistry. My parents wanted me to be a pharmacist, but I was like, “I really don’t want to be a pharmacist.” So then when I saw that Davis has this major called Pharmaceutical Chemistry, I was like, “Oh, it’s like a compromise.” [Laughs.] I was like, “Perfect!”

That’s literally perfect. Do you know what you want to do with it yet?

Um, ideally, I want to end up in research and development of um, like, medicine and drug design type stuff. Yeah, I feel like that’s really interesting, a really interesting field to go into.

Oh yeah, totally. Especially with all the new diseases that are always coming up. Would you say chemistry is like a passion of yours?

I think that it would be, because I do get really into it sometimes. I think throughout the past few years I kinda lost it a little bit, ‘cause um, I took Organic Chemistry. That was really discouraging for me because it’s not like any of the chemistry I ever did before. It’s like a whole new world and I really didn’t like it. But like, once I got really into studying it and put a lot of time into it, I got really excited to learn more about it. It’s been… Yeah, I would say it’s a passion of mine. Because even when I get discouraged from it, I still want to continue pursuing it. I was thinking if I should change my major because of how badly I was doing in o-chem, but I couldn’t think of anything else I would probably want to major in. So… it’s still here. [Laughs.]

Okay, so switching gears a little bit, I’m going to ask more general questions. What’s your family like? Who would you say you’re closest to in your family?

Um, so, my family has my mom, my dad, and I have two little siblings, one of them is 17 and the other one is 10. I think I’d be closest to my mom, ‘cause I call her like almost every day to talk.

Is there something that your mom or your parents in general have taught you that’s stuck with you throughout the years?

I guess to be grateful. I think when I was younger I didn’t realize how much they do for us, me and my siblings, but once I moved away, then I realized that, and I felt really bad. But growing up they would always remind us that we’re lucky to have what he have, and I realize how lucky I am to go to school up here. Yeah, and like, now my sister’s off to college and it’s like, I don’t know, it’s just becoming so prevalent, how much they sacrifice of their life so we can have a better one. My parents were both born in America. But um, neither of them went to university or anything, they both did community college, so they made it a really big deal that they want us to go to a four-year university.

What are some of your hobbies?

I like to play video games a lot. I like really cute games, like Animal Crossing and Zelda and stuff like that. I also like to play this one first-person shooter called Team Fortress, because it’s like, really animated and it’s a big joke. I’m sorry. I used to get really bad gamer rage. [Laughs.] But now that the game’s kind of calmed down, like people don’t really play it that much anymore, I just feel like it’s a big joke and everyone just obsesses over collecting hats for your character, so it’s not really, not that serious. I don’t know why I used to get so angry. It’s just a game.

How about music? Do you have a favorite genre or genres of music?

I feel like I like a lot of different genres, so I wouldn’t say that I have a favorite. But I guess different genres remind me of different periods of my life. Like, my early years of high school I listened to a lot of indie music, so when I listen to that now it kind of makes me feel nostalgic. And middle school was like, pop punk music, and sometimes I wanna listen to that stuff just to... feel… younger, or something? [Laughs.] But now I listen to a lot of lo-fi hip-hop and rap. And sometimes, do you ever miss a certain song? Sometimes I’ll miss a song, and I’m like, “Ahh, I don’t remember the name!” So I try and make the playlists, so I know that I can have them whenever I miss it.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

I love watching reality TV. [Laughs.] Yeah! But I know it’s not real, but like, it’s entertaining. And watching a lot of Youtube vlogs. Those are more real, but. Yeah. I guess I just like watching other peoples’ lives. That sounds really creepy! But on Netflix, there’s this Japanese show called Terrace House, where they just put like six strangers in a house and see how they interact and stuff. I really enjoy that. Yeah, sometimes they fall in love or get in fights and stuff, so. It sounds really horrible, but! [Laughs.] I guess that’s kind of the one I’ve been watching lately, though.

What is one of your favorite memories, or one that really stands out to you, from the past year?

Mmm… I think the night of Big/Little Reveal, ‘cause me and Michele had been so much planning and effort into it and we really just wanted everyone to be happy, because we know that Big/Little can sometimes be really controversial, so we wanted to try our best so that people were not angry. And so, after Reveal was over, I wasn’t exactly happy that it was over ‘cause I enjoyed the whole process, but like, I was relieved that it was over. Just because most people seemed pretty okay, and that night when I was scrolling through social media and seeing people post, like, “Oh this is my new little!” or “Welcome to the line!” I was like, “Oh…! It happened!” Like all of our planning. Seeing those really made my heart happy, and I was like, I’m so happy that people are happy in their lines, and I really hope no one’s mad. But just based off of what people have told us in the past about a lot of drama, I guess, surrounding Big/Little, we wanted to try and make it a lot less like that. We didn’t want-- Well, we tried our best, and I hope it wasn’t like, too much anger, but yeah, I was really anxious that day. There was just so many things that you never think of, your first time planning an event, and then after it all happened, I was like, “Ugh, thank God.”

That must have been really stressful. Like you guys had to plan all the Big/Little events and stuff before that, too. And then you have to actually pair everyone! How was that, the pairing process?

We did it all on a-- there was two different Excel sheets, and a white board, and it was like… It felt like when people are trying to piece together some kind of conspiracy. [Laughs.] And like, we would read everyone’s responses and stalk through their social media to try and like get a grasp of, “Oh, would these people go together?” Yeah, we tried really hard to make sure that things would work out well. It was a fun experience! I felt like we were playing matchmaker. But I feel like it was worth it in the end.

Yeah! I was about to say, I think you guys did a really good job. I love my big! [Laughs.]

Aw, thank you, I’m so glad!

Okay, this will be the last question. What are some goals you have for yourself this coming year? It can be for Circle K, or it can also be in school, or anything like that.

I guess the first goal would be to join a new lab, because I was in a lab before, but I didn’t feel like it fit my aspirations, so I’m currently looking for a new one, so that’s one goal. And my next goal would be to prioritize better, because I’ve been having trouble prioritizing school over other things. But I really need to prioritize school ‘cause it’s my last year, so I need to put school first. I guess that’s the goal. And another one is to have better time management, ‘cause that also ties in with the prioritizing thing. There’s a lot of time in the day, and I feel like I waste a lot of it. I feel like some people are just so productive, and I wanna be that. Like they wake up and then they go to the gym and have a protein smoothie and then they’re like, “Ahh, time for school now!” I wake up maybe twenty minutes before my class starts and I’m like, “Oh my God!”

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