BIO: Vanessa Phan is a senior at Princeton University majoring in Politics with a certificate in East Asian Studies who grew up in the quiet town of Gravesend, United Kingdom. During the summer of freshman year, Vanessa participated in the 8-week Chinese language-immersion programme, Princeton in Beijing, where she spent two months building her fluency in Mandarin Chinese and learning about Chinese culture. It was there that Vanessa first discovered her interest in the politics of China and East Asia, and her current academic interests focus on the intersection between China's politics, Asian entrepreneurship and China's expanding economic influence abroad.
On-campus, Vanessa is actively engaged with increasing involvement in civic engagement, as well as opportunities for the first-generation and low-income community. As a previous leader and current Board member for "Breakout" - Princeton's student-led civic engagement programme - Vanessa has been actively involved in taking students to New York City to meet with organisations to discuss feminism, and helped to found Princeton's first ever student organisation promoting gender equality. Her other roles on campus have included being a Head Fellow in the Scholars Institute Fellows Programme, a member of Princeton's Honor Committee, and a leader for the freshman orientation "Community Action" community service programme. In the future, Vanessa hopes to contribute to understandings of and developments in China's foreign relations, and is interested in any opportunities that come her way, whether that be in the public or private sector.