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Future of Economics,
Youth Advocate

Liyu (Yolanda) Chen is a team player who is enthusiastic about trying new things. She is passionate about debate, piano, writing and research. She also enjoys various sports, including equestrian, badminton, and volleyball. She is interested in international relations and political science, and has taken a particular focus on issues related to poverty, disinformation and mental health.  

Growing up, Yolanda has had the experience of “living” in airports during summers and winter breaks as she has to visit family in both the United States, China as well as New Zealand. She always disliked the long hours on the plane because it gets uncomfortable after twelve or more hours. However, she also turned it into a living experience. She realized that the most important impact of the intense travels every year was the skills she learned, which includes being organized and independent. While it was at first difficult to keep track of where she is and where she is headed to, she met many people along both ways and enjoyed having conversations with people from all backgrounds and experiences, from students to entrepreneurs. Through traveling between the countries, she also got a sense of the most recent relationship between these countries, from citizenship policies to the “accessibility” of customs, which fueled her interest in the areas of international relations. 

Aspiring to stimulate her academic curiosity, Yolanda takes a wide spectrum of classes, starting with history, biology and economics, and expanding to mathematics, English and Chinese. Furthermore, she is engaged with various external courses related to international affairs. Outside of the academic world, she enjoys tennis, badminton and volleyball, participates in choir and also is an active member of National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) debate. To expand her personal interests, she currently serves as the head of technology and vice head of human resources for EconLearners, an essay blog which holds annual economic essay competitions, and she is proud to be a national top scoring individual and team bronze award winner at the National Economics Challenge (NEC).

Looking ahead, while Yolanda may not be certain about her career trajectory, one thing she is committed to is creating impact on a global scale through working with the UN as well as global organizations. As a young researcher, she wishes to extend her skills in this area and complete more research papers and projects to deepen her knowledge in key issues meaningful to her. She seeks to take on more leadership roles wherever she can to increase her real world experience, and as a pathway to grow her interest in international relations and international trade and law.

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