Sarah and I talk space engineering, Jay-Z, and the underlying beauty of math in the universe.
D: Why don’t we start with your name?
D: And what are you studying?
S: Engineering Physics.
D: So I take it you don’t have a last name Sarah?
S: *laugh* My last name is Li! It’s a Chinese last name, and I happen to be Chinese.
D: Okay *laugh*! Have you grown up in Vancouver your whole life?
S: Nope! I grew up in China, and I moved to Victoria when I was ten (that’s where my family is now), and I’m just here for school.
D: And how do you like it?
S: It’s good! Vancouver is just like a larger version of Victoria, more… cosmopolitan? Yeah, cosmopolitan. So it’s kind of nice, probably the largest city I’ve ever been to.
D: Do you have any siblings?
S: Yeah, I have a six-year old brother, he was born here, because in China we have the one-child policy, so when we came here, my parents decided to have him!
D: That’s great! Tell me a bit more about your parents, what are they like?
S: Well, my dad is a computer engineer, which has influenced me a lot, because a lot of the stuff I’m doing nowadays is software related, and my mom is an accountant. Her whole family is in the financial industry, which has definitely influenced the public speaking side of me.
Nic and I recently met for coffee to talk about his involvement with Toastmasters, his thoughts on personal development, and the beautiful game.
D: Alright, do you mind telling us who you are?
N: My name is Nick, and… who am I? That’s like asking a.. that’s a big question.
D: *laugh* Let’s back it up then. What’s your last name?
N: My last name? *laugh* That’s like asking my first name. Li, like Sarah.
D: Oh, are you related?
N: *laugh* No haha.
D: Alright, and what are you studying?
N: I’m currently in mining engineering, but I think I’m going to switch out of this major, I don’t really like it, not really my thing. I think I might switch into civil (engineering), mining is a little too broad, and you can’t really focus on one basic thing, and it’s really all over the place. The things that you’re learning you can’t really apply, and you can really only learn properly in the field. I like to be in the field, I worked in mining engineering, and I learned a lot, but when I came back to class, I just knew that I couldn’t do this for the rest of my life. And when I came back to the classroom, it was like, “Holy ****, these guys don’t give a **** about what they’re teaching us” *laugh* So I think I’ll transfer into civil, maybe integrated, finish my degree, and then see where things go. But I’m also interested in kinesiology, how the human body works, how muscles work, dieting, all kinds of health stuff, typical Vancouverite *laugh*
"...I had heard that the engineering program at SFU was whack, totally whack."
Evan is one busy guy. I eventually tracked him down via email for a brief interview to find out what constitutes the man behind the presidency
D: Evan, how long have you been involved in Toastmasters?
E: Two years.
D: Alright, and what are some things you enjoy doing outside of Toastmasters?
E: Dancing, longboarding, hiking, laughing, writing, talking with and learning from people whose company I enjoy, mathematics, healthy food.
D: Do you have any siblings?
E: One little sister. She means everything to me. I was almost finished writing out my answers to this interview, and she came in telling me that she wanted to talk and we spent an hour and a half talking. Then I came back to write these two sentences.
D: Okay, and what about your parents?
I got the chance recently to sit down with Crystal Chao, VP of Education and share thoughts about parents, picking a major, and gender equality. We join the interview already in progress.
D: So Crystal, we want to hear more about you! From what you’ve told me, you have very motivated parents, you’re loving it here in Vancouver- but why did you decide to join Toastmasters?
C: Well.. I want to tell you something which may surprise you. The first time I started to talk English was four years ago. So, it took a lot of courage for me to come to Toastmasters, because there are a lot of very advanced speakers, like you, so it can be very scary!
D: Well that’s not really fair, I have about 14 more years of english speaking than you do, and here you are, taking on this role of VP of Education! What do you find is the most difficult thing in English for you?
C: I think I need a broader range of vocabulary. And I just really wonder, how can you know so many sophisticated words??
I caught up with the new VP of Membership, Hanin Almoallim, to talk about Toastmasters, business, travel, brothers and more in this full-length interview.
D: So Hanin, you’re studying commerce- why is that?
H: Well, I've always been interested in business, because we have a family business back home, so I always heard my dad talk about it over lunch, things like that, so the interest kind of grows up with you.
D: Interesting! So where is your dad?
H: He’s back in Saudi Arabia.
D: Cool! So when did you end up in Vancouver?
H: Two years ago, I came to study at UBC, but I’ve been coming to Vancouver since I was a kid. My uncle used to live here for awhile, and when he came back home, my oldest sister started studying in Vancouver, so always visiting. Every summer.
D: Gotcha! So then, what’s your family like? How many siblings do you have?
"I was very much afraid of public speaking.."
"Are you still afraid?"
*laugh* "A little bit."