Embracing the university experience in all forms - Rachel Wong

March 02, 2024

When Rachel Wong started her first year at Simon Fraser University, she never thought that her academic path would lead to a combined degree. As Rachel started exploring new opportunities, she abandoned her plans on graduating in one subject area and on a strict four year degree timeline. Instead, she ventured into new territory by choosing to combine communication and international studies for her bachelor’s degree. 

“It’s interesting to see how my research interest in communication has been shaped by international studies and vice versa. It’s also freeing to see that there is no such thing as a mistake or wasted time, because it all contributes to more learning and really rounding out my education,” she says.

During her studies, Rachel completed work placements at CBC Radio and Vancouver Co-op Radio, wrote for SFU’s student newspaper The Peak, volunteered in a communications role with SFU’s External Relations, and served as a peer mentor at SFU’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS). Before completing her degree, Rachel landed a permanent job at SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement

“Rachel exemplifies the student who embraces their university experience in all forms and takes full advantage of all that it has to offer,” says Rosaline Baik, FASS’s student recruitment and advising coordinator. 

As a Chinese Canadian, Rachel explored complex questions in her papers and assignments about her cultural identity. She was also interested in spatial politics and place-based design and the issues of cultural representation of other identity groups. In 2018, Rachel was awarded SFU’s Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology (FCAT) Undergraduate Research Fellowship to uncover the history of Stanley Park and the erasure of Indigenous identity. She later presented her findings at the 2019 FCAT Undergraduate Conference. 

The Feminine Genius Podcast —Rachel’s most recent project—explores and celebrates the diversity of Catholic womanhood and femininity. She mentions that the audio production and communications skills she gained during her work placements and studies gave her the confidence to go out and start her own project. 

When asked about important takeaways she learned while at SFU, Rachel says, “One of them was really checking my biases and preconceived notions and allowing myself to learn from other points of view. I really like the fact that SFU encourages students to take on an interdisciplinary approach to their studies. I came to see that you can actually branch out and are encouraged to learn from classes outside of your home programs.”