'My poetry class allowed me to slow down for a minute and feel wonder'

Yu Wen Lynn Hong


What was your favorite class and why?

I'm not sure if I can pick a favorite class, because I've had so many eye-opening experiences in the classroom. Advanced Poetry with Prof. Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon honed my creative process,

person sitting in tree

encouraged me to lean into and push on the idiosyncrasies in the way I see the world, but most of all was just a really nice space where I could slow down for a minute and feel wonder. Introduction to Electronic Music Composition was also a highlight, because I got to develop a new technical skillset and learn to make cool things I never thought I would have been able to, like a small film score or coding a vocoder.

What is your main extracurricular activity and why is it important to you?

My extracurricular at Cornell is Lion Dance, and it's been a really pivotal part of my experience here. I've found a sense of comfort and belonging in being part of this team effort, in a community that's warm and open, and it's a nice complement to my academic pursuits, which require a lot of individual work.

What are the most valuable skills you gained from your Arts & Sciences education?

person standing by water

The flexibility of Arts & Sciences means that I've received a breadth of critical and creative training. My work in government, history and Asian studies has honed my ability to think critically, historically and theoretically. Learning and making in an environment that is supportive and filled with expertise and opportunities has been exciting and fulfilling. But most of all, I think these four years have given me a better understanding of myself. Having the ability to shape my experience has allowed me to clarify my motivations, curiosities and passions. It's taught me to proactively seek out the opportunities that take me closer to the things I would like to do, and the person I would like to be.

What have you accomplished as a Cornell student that you are most proud of, either inside the classroom or otherwise?

My thesis project is the largest research project I've ever undertaken, and it explores my interests in translation and how we navigate cultural and intellectual difference. I've enjoyed the process of working between different disciplines and pulling together the different elements in sometimes surprising ways. Having the autonomy to steer this project and follow my curiosities, enabled by the expertise and resources the university has to offer, has been a really rewarding experience.

What are your plans for next year? 

I'm headed to Leiden University to do a Masters program in Asian studies.


Every year, our faculty nominate graduating Arts & Sciences students to be featured as part of our Extraordinary Journeys series. Read more about the Class of 2023.

More News from A&S

Yu Wen Lynn Hong