Zhan Yinuo: The Finance Girl Who Spent Four Years Chasing Her Dream of Being an Educator

Browsing Zhan Yinuo’s phone gallery, you will be amazed at her persistence in recording her life and how exciting her college life is. As a student-to-be of the best school for education in the United States, she was a consistent winner of the Dean’s Scholarship, an intern, and an RA (Resident Assistant). On top of that, she does bungee jumping, diving and surfing, just to name a few. The four years that senior finance major Zhan spent at WKU are only more colorful than the photos in her gallery.

01 Determined in Pursuit of Her dream

On March 5, 2022, Zhan posted the offer letter from the University of Pennsylvania’s English Education for Foreigners program on social media with the caption of only four words: A dream comes true. To be accepted into the best college of education in the United States (the U.S. News 2022) is itself an undoubtedly enviable achievement. To many people’s surprise, Zhan was a finance major in her undergraduate studies at WKU. Entering the field of education was not a sudden whim but a dream of Zhan’s since she was a child.

What confirmed Zhan’s decision to pursue her dream was her research on “Seating Selection: What really matters?” with Professor Amrita Kaur of the Department of Psychology. It was the research that won her the award of “Best Presentation” on Student Research Day and “The 1st Wenzhou University and Wenzhou-Kean University Graduate Student Academic Festival”. As the only business student on the team, Zhan found that she had little knowledge of educational concepts and theories when she was first confronted with the topic of “The Impact of Classroom Seating on the Effectiveness of Teaching”.

Applying to education-related graduate programs became an “obsession” for Zhan from that moment on. In addition to UPenn, Zhan had received five offers from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Southern California, and other prestigious schools for education programs, which was the best response to her obsession.

02 Thrived in Internship

In addition to the high GPA, Zhao’s rich experience in the internship was a big plus in her application for graduate school. Since the summer of her freshman year, Zhan has spent her holidays on internships at New Oriental. She started as a teaching assistant and was promoted to the English Department that she desired, being responsible for the training for TOEFL, IELTS, and other exams.

Zhan seized the rare opportunity and taught her students everything she knew. She introduced them to the association technique she used to memorize vocabulary, guiding them to explore the memory strategy that works best for them. Through the internships, she gained not only experience and teaching skills but also her love for English education.

03 Shone on After-school Activities

Even as someone with excellent grades, Zhan was never a nerdy bookworm. On the contrary, she was an active participant in various campus activities. As a senior RA, she organized or participated in more than 50 school activities and was awarded the “Outstanding RA” title in the fall of 2019, performing as the only RA representative in the WKU 10th anniversary event. As a volunteer, she spent her time after school as an online teacher for Qiaobo Primary School in Gansu Province, held an initiation ceremony for seven-year-old children in the community, and visited the elderly at the cultural hall in Fangao, Panqiao Street.

In the past four years, Zhan has also served as the president of VOK, the Voice of WKU radio station. From 2019 to 2020, as the president of VOK, Zhan led the club, winning the honor of “5-Star Club” with the most points in ranking and the WKU-inm Inspiration and Innovation Scholarship. During her tenure, Zhan and her mentor promoted the bilingual reading program “Appreciate Wenzhou” in cooperation with Zhejiang Daily. Zhan said that VOK has always been less of a job to her and more of a family, working together with her fellows to spread the voice of WKU far and wide.

In the interview, Zhan Yinuo repeatedly stated that she was a very lucky person. She believed that without the support of her professors, instructors, family, and friends, she could not have made such accomplishments. “Whatever you plan to do, this university provides all the resources you need, but it’s up to your choice to decide how you would like to live your life.” In Zhan’s case, she has found her way of spending her four years living the most colorful life.