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Ethel Tan

Interviewed by Sarah T. Lévy

What motivated you to run for the Student Rep position?

It was kind of a late decision. As I began to have some ideas for the campus, as regard the academic and professional resources, I started developing them, and realized I was passionate about them and that I could stand for them. If people like my ideas, they will vote for me, and I would be glad to be their Student Rep.

Do you have any previous experience, relevant to the Student Rep position… or not, as you prefer, that you would like to share with us?

I’ve never been a Student Rep but I have worked in the business and the public relations sectors, where I acquired the skill of pitching and selling ideas. I also got a sense of leadership by being an executive committee member and the lead actress for a play. I regret not having taken part more deeply in the student life back in high school and I feel that this is my only chance left to bring my contribution to the school and enact changes. I want to be able to do it this time.

What challenges are you expecting to overcome as a Student Rep?

Dealing with the administration will be challenging. We will need to convince them for ideas that require bigger changes, like the project of organizing regular feedback sessions between seminar teachers and their students: it is necessary because it would encourage a culture of open communication, but requires a lot of organization. The same goes for the standardization of the seminar material, it takes time. So the Student Rep would need to present the ideas in the proper way, by pitching them.

What do you think about the Student Rep campaiging process?

For me the length is nice, it gives us enough time to talk to people and promote our programs. But what I’m really looking forward to doing is the debate, because it is where the candidates will really express their solid ideas.

What is unique about your platform?

My focus is first an academic one: as all seminar teachers have different teaching styles, the administration should ensure that students all have a common basis, that is to say, standardized seminar material, so that they will be equally prepared to the examination. For the readings, the seminar teachers should respect the same structure and agree on the ideas that should be covered during the class; the presentations should be based on the same material, with reduced spelling mistakes. Another problem is that we lack of year 3 resources: Sciences Po should give us a broad overview of the program, the requirements needed to go the university, the application process, especially if we want to study elsewhere than in the US. I also care about the professional development: from my three jobs I’ve understood that work experience is important and is a stepping stone to our future career. We study in college to work, after all! That is why I think Sciences Po should gather a list of student internships in different fields (journalism, finance…), and  connect better with our alumni who could come to talk about their working experience, so that we can have an idea of what work would be like in their field. All this would require a greater collaboration between the teaching staff, the students, and the administration; which I aiming at.

Student Representatives manage relations not just between the administration and students in general, but also with student associations – all for the purpose of enabling you to have a voice in determining how you want your student life experiences to be. In this aspect, Student Representatives take the initiative of setting the direction & vision for the campus, ensuring that everyone on campus works together to solve imminent issues, and achieve plans for future improvements.

In three words, what is the role of a Student Rep?

Student Representatives manage relations not just between the administration and students in general, but also with student associations – all for the purpose of enabling you to have a voice in determining how you want your student life experiences to be. In this aspect, Student Representatives take the initiative of setting the direction & vision for the campus, ensuring that everyone on campus works together to solve imminent issues, and achieve plans for future improvements.

Miscellaneous question: what are you the proudest of in your hometown?

Proud of my Hometown: imparting “kiasu-ness” – to do one’s best & achieve success in everything and definitely, resilience to overcome any limitations (thank you Singapore)!

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