Meet the Class of 2025: Angela Tsai
Meet the Class of 2025: Angela Tsai
Sargent student’s passion for equity paved her way to BU
Wondering what the BU Class of 2025 looks like? For starters, the 4,023 entering freshmen are members of one of the largest classes in recent history. They hail from 48 states (sorry, South Dakota and Wyoming) and 73 countries and regions (23 percent of this year’s freshmen are international students). The class is 56 percent female and 44 percent male, 17.7 percent are first-gen students, and 15.2 percent are from underrepresented groups. They boast an average GPA of 3.9 and nearly half (43.5 percent) were admitted Early Decision.
But those are just statistics. To give you a better sense of the Class of 2025, we introduce you this week to four of the class members. Check out their inspiring stories.
Angela Tsai is not among the 46 candidates running for governor of California this month.
“Maybe in a few years,” the San Rafael resident and college freshman, who already has some public policy chops, says with a chuckle.
As a high school sophomore, Tsai (Sargent’25) helped research and successfully lobby for less onerous bus fares for Marin County’s low-income riders. She also assisted in crafting her school district’s return to in-person instruction amid COVID-19.
A first-generation American born to Taiwanese parents, Tsai comes to Sargent College on a Trustee Scholarship, which covers tuition and mandatory fees for up to four years for academically gifted students who are “intellectually and creatively adventurous and demonstrate viewpoints, experiences, or achievements beyond the usual.”
Like helping to create public transit and COVID policy.
Tsai became interested in transit fares because many classmates took public buses to school. She and student partners zeroed in on the Canal, a low-income enclave in affluent Marin County. “For a monthly bus pass, it would be an $80 down payment, and if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, that’s a pretty significant amount of money to put down all at once,” she says.
The students thought that paying for a pass in $20 weekly installments would be easier. “We went door-to-door in the Canal, asking residents what they thought of this,” Tsai says. “About 80 or 90 percent of the people we surveyed said that $20 a week just makes a lot more sense.”
The students presented their plan to the county transportation board. ”It was definitely nice to have adults be super open-minded towards high schoolers,” she says. Their receptiveness also helped quell her jitters, and ultimately, the board approved the policy.
Tsai and her peers also promoted environmentally friendly biking from bus stops to workplaces and homes, hosting an event in the Canal with booths run by bike companies. One participant, Gwen Froh, program director for Marin Safe Routes to Schools, says the event raffled free bicycles and helmets to kids, and offered more offbeat fun (making smoothies “by pedaling a bike blender,” Froh says).
Froh’s group seeks to provide children access to safe school travel, and “seeing the joy on the faces of children and parents was extremely rewarding,” she says. “It is awe-inspiring to work with students such as Angela,” who took a “leadership role in providing bicycles to under-resourced children in our community.”
Tsai chose Sargent as the best place to learn about a career in health care. “Most departments in Sargent are genuinely really interesting to me,” she says. “I’m definitely excited to explore the different health-related majors and figure out exactly what it is I want to do.”
Health care—a topic of interest to a swimmer who has needed treatment for muscle overuse injuries—became more important to her as one of two student representatives on her school system’s reentry committee last year. Her job was to be a reality check on student reactions to safety protocols.
“They broke it down into elementary, middle school, and high school, because the plans would be kind of different for each age group,” she says. “And I provided a student perspective on what I [thought] students would follow, in terms of figuring out how to do breaks and lunches—just because I know that during passing period, everyone would flood the hallways and go to the bathroom and eat at tables. Just having a student perspective to walk through the procedure and figure out if it would be realistic for high-schoolers to follow.”
The hybrid schooling plan ultimately put in place, Tsai says, produced a school year with few cases, while successfully navigating the COVID culture war. “Obviously today, everything is a political issue, which is unfortunate,” she says. “But luckily for me and the committee, we didn’t really have any pushback about vaccines or mask mandates. And I’m definitely really lucky to live in a county where we take the pandemic seriously.”
She also helped found her high school’s community service club, which has raised almost $3,000 for local charities, she says, while funneling volunteers to nonprofits. For all her civic engagement back home, Tsai has been looking forward to coming east.
“Boston is a very vibrant and diverse city,” she says, “and that is something that’s really important to me, growing up in Marin, which is a predominantly white community. I feel like the city’s diversity is definitely nicely reflected in the BU student body…that’s accepting of different cultures and identities.”
Amazing story. Way to go, Angela.