A self-proclaimed realist, Piersonite Annie Shi ’12 may not want to introduce academic minors. But she does want “language certificates” and “secondary concentrations.”
Shi, who is running for vice president, said that unlike her fellow candidates, she refuses to run on something that she knows wouldn’t happen. So Shi explained that the great faculty and departmental support makes language certificates more possible than academic minors. She also plans to work on improving sophomore mental health counseling, allowing students to use the Credit/D/Fail option on one distributional requirement, and lobbying for more math and science seminars for non-majors.
“You won’t hear me promise you academic minors,” Shi said. “Yale has already voted against them. However, language certificates and secondary concentrations are a very real possibility.”
As a humanities major, Shi said math and science seminars make the subject matter easier to grasp and also make the professor more approachable for help.
On mental health, Shi said she believes that sophomore counseling and advising would help students deal with what she calls the “sophomore slump,” during which students feel uncertainty about academic focus and direction as well as physical separation from friends made while living in close proximity on Old Campus. She said she envisions a system in which a sophomore is paired with a junior the same way that freshmen get “big sibs” in the residential colleges. She also considered the possibility of incentives to participate, such as $5 to sit down for coffee or Ashley’s.
“You go from having a ton of focus and support to having almost nothing,” she said.
Shi said she also wants to improve mental health counseling for all students, not just sophomores, in the residential colleges. She said the “mental journey” to muster up the motivation to walk up to University Health Services for counseling can sometimes deter students. She said she plans to organize study breaks specifically aimed at activities that relieve stress and also wants to create mental health counselor positions in all the colleges.
Catherine Osborn ’12, a fellow Piersonite and Shi’s friend, said Shi knows how to work with administrators to create special events and influence school policy.
“She knows how the system works,” Osborn said.
As a current Yale College Council representative and Pierson College Council vice president, Shi received approval and funding for a project of her own, Food Week. Similar to the concept of Sex Week, Food Week will take place next fall and consist of a weeklong series of events, speakers and panels dealing with food and sustainability, including cheese-making lessons with plenty of free samples.