Sixteen years ago, Assistant Professor Helen McCabe traveled to China to pursue humanitarian work and met Jenny Wu ’12. Though neither McCabe nor Wu had yet heard of Hobart and William Smith, the visit set off a chain reaction that resulted in Wu arriving in Geneva, New York, as a William Smith first-year this past fall.
“When I was 3-years-old, I met Helen. She had just graduated from college and wanted to help a family in China,” Wu says. “She made a connection to my family through my older sister, who has autism, and we kept in touch during the 16 years that followed.”
Later, Wu’s parents got a firsthand look at the Colleges as exchange scholars here in 2006 and 2007. They came to learn and teach about autism and returned home speaking highly of the Colleges, their staff and the “gorgeous campus.”
Wu said she wanted to study without declaring a major. “I did not need to confirm my major when I got into the Colleges,” says Wu. “I was able to choose the courses that I was interested in and decided later on a major.”
Her first semester’s courses varied from her first-year seminar, “The Human Faces of Math,” to “Intro to Drawing” with Professor of Art Phillia Yi. “I loved the class and Professor Yi, and I can’t wait to take more art classes.”
She also took a Common Ground course led by Information Technologist Stan Weaver. “During those six weeks, we played games, made breakfast and visited the local coffee shop. The course helped me get used to my new life here. Since the course, when I study in the library, I know my way around and always see Stan there.”
An ambitious and diligent artist, Wu plans to double-major in studio art and architecture. “I have been learning drawing and painting for a long time, and I enjoy it.” She is currently designing a logo for The Five Project, a nonprofit organization supporting educational, vocational and community participation opportunities for individuals with special needs, which was founded by McCabe and her sister, Karen. Wu also designed the posters and T-shirts for the musical theatre club’s production of “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
“A lot of people asked me ‘Do you like it here so far?'” says Wu. “My answer is always ‘I really love it here!’ I am looking forward to my second semester at HWS!”
The photo above features Wu gathering for the first Day of Service in the Fall 2008 with fellow first-year students.