The University of Iowa

International student spotlight: Siau-Tong Ding

May 18th, 2020
Siau-Tong Ding at Kinnick Stadium

Siau-Tong Ding at Kinnick Stadium

Following in the footsteps of her mother, a University of Iowa PhD alumna, Siau-Tong Ding enrolled as an undergraduate in 2018. Born and raised in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, Ding came to Iowa City to double-major in environmental policy and planning and anthropology. Now, in preparation for her third year at the university, she is also considering minors in geography or a certificate in Geographic Information Science (GIS).

“I doubted myself for a long time in regards to my major. After talking with advisors at the Pomerantz Career Center, I decided that I was on the right track. The advisors helped me clear up any doubts, and now I am very confident in my majors and know my goals,” said Ding.

Ding has always been fascinated by archaeology. Her interests and aptitudes were one of many reasons she chose the University of Iowa’s anthropology program. Ding also admired Iowa’s resources and commitment to student support. She yearned for a university filled with familiar faces and a comforting environment. Ding briefly lived in Iowa City at a young age while her mother worked towards her PhD. Based on previous experiences, Ding felt Iowa City was a safe and friendly town in which to complete her degree.

“I grew up in Iowa City and have an emotional connection to this city. When considering studying abroad, safety and support was a top priority of mine. I wanted a place where I can comfortably and safely pursue my academic studies and not have my parents worry,” said Ding.

In the fall, Ding will be joined by her sister who is an incoming freshman. Her excitement towards Iowa swayed her sister to join the family legacy of being a Hawkeye. In the meantime, Ding is keeping busy through academic and extracurricular activities. Academically, Ding is involved in the Anthropology Club. Ding has learned a lot from the club and gained access to campus and external resources related to anthropology. Her participation in the club also opened doors to additional resume-worthy experiences.

“I work as an undergraduate research assistant for Professor Katina Lillios of the anthropology department. Her main research focus is archaeology on the Iberian Peninsula. I mainly help her with small projects like creating a bibliography, labeling and photographing ceramic pieces, etc. I learned a lot of general research skills and archaeology-specific skills through this process,” said Ding.

Siau-Tong Ding with her parents in Taiwan

Siau-Tong Ding with her parents in Taiwan

Through an email from International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), Ding was introduced to the Bridging Domestic and Global Diversity program. Bridging Domestic and Global Diversity is a semester-long leadership training program designed to increase intercultural awareness and skills, while enhancing understanding and connection through diversity. Throughout this program, Ding took global and intercultural leadership training that introduced her to concepts of power, privilege, and oppression. To Ding, this program was an extension of what she was already learning in many of her classes.

Staying on track with leadership training, Ding also joined LeaderShape. LeaderShape is an interactive, energizing, and unique experience that builds leadership skills. The goal of this group is to provide students with the tools necessary to become visionary leaders. For Ding, the program was about accumulating a new skill-set.

“I learned a lot of leadership skills from the LeaderShape retreat. I think what made this program so unique was how it slowly built up over the four days. We started with self-discovery, then moved on to self-growth, and ended with self-realization. It was all very valuable and rewarding,” said Ding.

Now, as Ding spends some time away from campus activity due to the UI’s quick response to the pandemic, she reflects and prepares for the future. Although Ding is not fond of virtual instruction, she sees this as another challenge to overcome. Virtual instruction is only temporary and Ding has a lot to look forward to.

“I will be doing an internship in the UI Office of Sustainability this summer. I will likely be working on a research project, but we have yet to sort out the details. I am just grateful I still have the opportunity to gain real-world experience towards my passion,” said Ding.


Learn about Siau-Tong Ding sense of Hawkeye pride


 

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