Diandra Soemardi, chemistry major and president of Asian Student Association #


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Diandra Soemardi '17

Jakarta, Indonesia

Major in Chemistry, Minor in Creative Writing

As president of the Asian Student Association, Diandra is dedicated to promoting the diversity of Asian cultures on campus.

Diandra Soemardi, chemistry major and president of Asian Student Association

How did you become involved in Asian Student Association? Why has it become important to you?

I become involved in Asian Student Association as a first-year. At that time, I was homesick and looking for a place to fit in. Coming to my first ASA meeting, I immediately felt welcome around people who come from a similar background. I feel like ASA is a space for Asian students to be themselves and take pride in their heritage and culture. Being the umbrella club, ASA is in charge of collaboration between all the other Asian cultural clubs (Chinese Club, Japanese Club, Korean Club, AAINA, and Filipino Club). Together, we aim to promote the diversity of Asian cultures to the Knox community, while serving as a 'home away from home' to the Asian students on campus.

What are your future plans?

After graduation, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry and start my career as a research scientist. My ultimate dream is to empower scientists in my home country, Indonesia, to do research in green technology and renewable energy. Being the president of ASA has taught me many valuable skills in communication, decision-making, planning, and organizing.

What has been your most memorable experience while at Knox?

My most memorable experience was being involved in International Fair 2015. ASA held a poster display booth and served Southeast Asian dishes for 300+ guests. On the same day I also performed Balinese Dance for the cultural showcase. All throughout the week, almost every night I was running between stage rehearsals, cooking in the kitchen, and doing my homework. In the end, we pulled everything off as a club and it is one of the greatest achievements we made so far.

Tell us about your independent study?

I'm doing an independent study with Professor Helen Hoyt from the chemistry department. Our field is Green Chemistry, which focuses on making chemical reactions greener, safer, and more cost-effective. Our current project is to design ligands for iron catalysts that would help to improve many chemical reactions such as hydrosilylation. Being involved in research as an undergraduate student an invaluable experience. It helps me to learn a new set of skills and gain confidence in the lab. I feel like my research will make a positive contribution to not only the environment, but also the society that we live in.

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Printed on Monday, December 11, 2017

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