Hai Yan Chen: Working with Honors Students

Posted on: Wednesday, November 4th, 2015 by Brent Treash
Alumna Hai Yan Chen returned to Emory & Henry College last year to work in the Honors Program, the same organization she participated in while a student at the College.

Alumna Hai Yan Chen returned to Emory & Henry College last year to work in the Honors Program, the same organization she participated in while a student at the College.

“I love being back on campus,” said Chen. “I love the atmosphere. Since I worked closely with some of the staff and professors while I was a student, it actually was not a hard transition for me.”

Since August 2014, Chen has worked as assistant director and recruitment coordinator of the Emory & Henry Honors Program. “Having graduated from the Honors Program and having an idea of the things that students need has made my job a lot easier. In fact, I had projects in mind even before the first day of work.”

Her duties include maintaining the Honors Program website; organizing on- and off-campus student recruitment events, such as the Fall Honors Preview Days, the Boston Road Show, and Scholarship Days; coordinating a honors homecoming reception; attending college fairs and admissions outreach programs to help with new student recruitment; and organizing a spring faculty appreciation social and other on-campus programming for current students. 

Chen also trains and manages student office assistants and oversees the daily operation of the honors program office. She assisted with the development of the program's first off-campus freshmen orientation, which took place in Newland, North Carolina, in August.

“The neat thing about this job is I remember what it was like to juggle the responsibilities of being an honors student,” said Chen.

“I think my greatest accomplishment at Emory & Henry is completing and successfully defending my honors thesis research. My research on cross-border cultural differences led me to develop a case study against the use of market positioning standardization by companies expanding overseas. I argued against the claim of global market convergence and that the appropriate level of market positioning adaptation depends on the degree of cultural differences between the home and host country.”

Chen graduated from Emory & Henry with a bachelor of science degree in international studies and business with a minor in Chinese.

She moved from China to the United States when she was only eight years old. While attending public school in Marion, Virginia, she helped her father operate his Chinese restaurant, running the cash register, answering the phone, and sometimes waiting tables.

She decided to minor in Chinese at Emory & Henry to gain a more in-depth understanding of her heritage and to strengthen her language skills. “I am considered fluent in Mandarin and English. I went to first grade in China, so I definitely knew the language quite well before my life was dominated by English,” said Chen. “I'd like to integrate my bilingual abilities into my career one day.”

 After graduating from Emory & Henry in 2013, she worked for a year at TEDS, a strategic talent management software solutions company in Atkins, Virginia.

“I was hired to create promotional resources used for sales and lead generation. This experience allowed me to fine-tune my existing graphic design techniques and learn new technical skills, such as website development, search engine optimization, and video creation. I also worked on the culture team to explore different ways to improve the company culture at TEDS,” she said.

“Looking back, the most important aspect of my education experience as a student at Emory & Henry was the one-on-one time spent with professors on projects, coordinating campus events with fellow student colleagues, contributing back to the community through community service, and spending time abroad in Germany,” Chen said.

“E&H taught me to never settle for the norm, to always be asking questions and to think critically, passionately, and creatively about issues. I think that's what has enabled me to be a successful person, employee, and citizen.” 


Hometown:  Marion, Virginia
Major: International Studies and Business with a minor in Chinese
Extra Curricular Activities:
Peer Educators
Ampersand-Art & Literary Magazine
Phi Eta Sigma National Honors Society
Bonner Scholars Program
Emory & Henry Tutoring Program
Honors Program Scholar
Phi Beta Lambda

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