Masters candidate, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Tian Lu with her award.
Meet Tian Lu - Recipient of the Brian Yealland Community Leadership Award
by Amelia Hamfelt, May 2014
WhenTian walks into the room she is carrying a towering stack of first year engineering exams. It is the end of the semester, which means copious marking to do and tight deadlines that need to be upheld. Yet, Tian acknowledges the work with a sigh and a smile telling me that she has to be generous when marking because she knows the questions are difficult and the students are stressed.
This attitude of beatitude and beneficence is something Tian brings to everything she does. A Master’s student in Electrical Engineering, Tian also works as a teaching assistant, volunteers as the International Student Affairs Commissioner for the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) and participates in extracurricular campus life with a focus on promoting international community at Queen’s. The latter activities are what earned her the Brian Yealland Award.
Tian is committed to making the lives of international students easier. Having emigrated from China and undergone the transition from international student to permanent resident, she intimately understands the struggles these students undergo when moving to a foreign country to pursue their studies. In the past year she has established career workshops that instruct international students on formatting their resumes according to Canadian standards, organized a networking tour that connects international students with Kingston professionals and forged numerous long-term partnerships with government agencies, businesses and the Queen’s community.
She has also initiated several future projects that will continue to develop after she has left. These include a support service for spouses of international graduate students and a comprehensive guide to obtaining permanent residency, as well as an expansion of the already successful networking tour to include professionals from the Greater Toronto Area.
While all these accomplishments demonstrate Tian’s extraordinary commitment and compassion, she credits the community at Queen’s for her success.
“Choosing Queen’s was the first step because of the inclusive community” says Tian, “There are always people around who are available to help you. I felt like once I received help, I was motivated to help others.”
Tian attests to the fact that the reciprocity between students and the university is what sets Queen’s apart. Her decision to attend Queen’s was predicated on the university’s reputation for student outreach initiatives and in the six years that she has been a student here she has more than given back, which is why Tian encourages other students to follow in her stead.
“You may come up with ideas of how to help other students from your own point of view,” says Tian, “You should step into society, get involved, touch people, network, and also work hard for your academics. The contributions you make will encourage other students to contribute and ultimately improve the community overall.”