Hajim Spotlights

Shannon Lue Chee Lip

Class year: 2021
Major: English
Challenge: Advance Personalized Learning

How did you hear about the Grand Challenges Program?

I heard about Grand Challenges in my freshman year during a computer science class. I attended an information session and found the community really welcoming and I loved how encouraging everyone was when I talked about my multidisciplinary interests. When I switched majors from Computer Science to English, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to continue participating in the program but that wasn’t true at all. Everyone involved with Grand Challenges seems to really value diverse perspectives and I felt genuinely supported whenever I met with someone from the program to talk about my interests.

Why did you decide to apply for the Grand Challenges program?

I decided to apply because I knew that I wanted to play a role in solving large-scale interdisciplinary problems, but I had no idea where to start. Being a Grand Challenge Scholar helped me focus my work and gave me a space to really reflect on all the different things that I’ve done in college to see how the pieces fit together into one cohesive story.

Which of the five “competencies” (research, interdisciplinary, entrepreneurship/innovation, global, service) did you most enjoy completing? Why?

Entrepreneurship. I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur but seeing the opportunities that open up when you put yourself out there was really valuable to me.

Do you think you will want to continue work in the field of your “challenge” after graduation? How?

Getting to explore some of the central questions surrounding education, the hidden curriculum and cultural genesis has already been an incredible asset to me professionally. Throughout college, I interned in consulting and marketing roles and these fields require a level of understanding of psychology, strategy and culture. My grand challenge experience did a great job of preparing me for this kind of work and, as I start my career in the business world, I’m certain that these skills will continue to be invaluable to me. I hope to further build on my grand challenge work to promote equity and inclusion in education and I know that I have an amazing foundation for this due to my experiences in the program.

How did being at the University of Rochester help you to complete this program?

I couldn’t have done this program if I wasn’t at the University. Our unique commitment to interdisciplinary learning was instrumental in my ability to be a Grand Challenge Scholar and explore so many different fields in a relatively short period of time. I’m so grateful for all of the supportive professors and staff members who mentored and encouraged me along the way. Without the University, I don’t think I would’ve had the tools and support I needed to be able to complete this kind of ambitious interdisciplinary project at all.

For you, what is the value of the Grand Challenges program?

I love this program and think that’s it’s really unique because it’s one of the few opportunities I’ve found for humanities students to meaningfully collaborate with the STEM field to solve global problems. This kind of interdisciplinary conversation is absolutely crucial in inciting meaningful change and it was really impactful for me to see how my individual contributions can play a role in solving a global issue.

Click here to see Shannon's poster for the University's Undergraduate Research Expo.