Compassion and Comics

Elaine Hang

Elaine Hang ’19 

“I love social media, nerd culture and cats,” says Elaine Hang ’19, a bilingual Californian with a strong sense of justice and a desire to effect positive change in her community. She discusses her internship in a California congresswoman’s office, her love of comics and the legendary activist who inspires her.


Political science and English.

On choosing a major:

I want to organize and contribute to movements [to help] the Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community and the LGBTQIA+ community, among others, so it’s only natural that I gravitate toward political science as my major. However, I also have an interest in literature and history. I love reading and learning more about others’ stories of struggle, tragedy and triumph.

Clubs and organizations:

College Democrats, Asian Pacific Association and Liberty Caps Society.

Favorite book:

Wicked by Gregory Maguire.

Favorite movie:

Sailor Moon S: the Movie.

On choosing Dickinson:

I wanted to go to a liberal-arts school, because it gives me more flexibility to explore and pursue what I am interested in. I didn’t visit Dickinson until after I sent in my deposit; however, everyone I spoke with was very patient, friendly and welcoming. The mellow vibes I got from the people at Dickinson reassured me that I made the right decision.

Favorite place on campus:

Upper Level of the Waidner-Spahr Library.

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Grilled salmon.

Favorite class (so far):

My First-Year Seminar (FYS), Graphic Narrative in a Global Frame. I blog about comics, graphic narratives and pop culture in my free time. Writing about these topics for a seminar encouraged me to analyze better, think more deeply and write faster. Not only do I see my writing get better, I also have fun, because I’m doing what I love.

If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …

… Yuri Kochiyama. She was a legendary activist and educator who inspired generations of movement builders with her fierce dedication to justice.

About my internship:

I interned at the office of Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), so I could better understand her role in [California’s] Greater San Gabriel Valley. I care about my local community, and I want to serve it as best as I can. Through this internship, I learned a lot about issues surrounding voter engagement and the immigrant community. I also connected with new mentors and friends.

Biggest influence:

My parents, of course. They taught me to be ambitious, putting myself first and going after what I want. Not to mention, their stories absolutely inspired me to get involved in sociopolitical movements. I come from a family of war survivors. Resilience and compassion are in my blood.

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Published August 23, 2016