This student profile originally appeared in the Fall 2014 edition of the Honors at Iowa newsletter
Jeffrey Ding, a political science, economics, and Chinese major in his third year at the University of Iowa, had an exciting summer. An Iowa City native, Ding accepted an internship in Hong Kong through the Tippie Global Internships Program. While there, Ding worked closely with Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, through which he was able to observe the intense political situation in the city as well as write articles, news stories, and policy proposals.
Ding experienced a heated political climate while in Hong Kong, and he said of this, “I sat in on a meeting during which a Legislative Councilor threw a piece of glass at Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, the leader of the city.” He added, “I got to march with hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong people for universal suffrage and genuine democracy.”
Witnessing this environment impacted Ding immensely, providing invaluable experience to support his areas of study and his desire to work in public service.
Jeffrey Ding, Vice President of UI Student Government, reads his poetry aloud at a spoken word event last year.
An internship in Hong Kong is just one of the many ways Ding has engaged in the opportunities the University of Iowa offers. He is, most notably, the University of Iowa Student Government Vice President, a position he acquired after having served as a freshman senator and later as the student government’s sustainability liaison.
Ding enjoyed his journey as a student government candidate, saying, “My favorite part of the election process was the opportunity to help write a comprehensive platform on a range of campus issues including safety, sustainability, diversity, affordability, and advocacy.” Now, as Vice President, he says the role is “rewarding yet demanding.” The position requires him to send a lot of emails, but he also gets to collaborate with organizations like the International Student Advisory Board and Ideas at Iowa.
Ding is also an active student in the Honors Program, his involvement beginning after he presented at the National Collegiate Honors Council conference in New Orleans with Dr. Tom Keegan. Following this experience, he chose to become an honors peer advisor. He also works with the Presidential Scholars Program. Beyond honors, Ding has spearheaded awareness initiatives like the Green Initiatives Fund and a campaign to inform students about mental health issues in the Asian community.
In the midst of his successes so far at Iowa, Ding says his greatest accomplishment is a spoken word poem he performed at a Hawkeye InterVarsity Expressions of Faith event last year. Through the piece, which he titled “Who I Am,” Ding was able to share self-reflections and discoveries with others.
The piece was very personal, and Ding says, “Reactions I got from people who were impacted by my piece would make this my greatest accomplishment so far at the University.”
Ding is still planning his next steps. He hopes to experience yet another country through study abroad during his senior year at Iowa and, after finishing his undergraduate education, pursue a joint law and public policy degree. He says, however, “[I] would not be surprised if those plans changed before the next sunset.”
As someone who has actively participated in the University and the honors communities, Ding gives excellent advice for new students: “Show up. Show up to class on time and everyday, prepared to engage in the learning environment. Show up to student organization meetings, informational meetings, office hours with professors, and meetings with advisors.”
Finally, like the Honors Program tagline, Ding encourages students to form their community, saying "Don't forget to make your connection."