Brendon Thammavongsa is a rising senior majoring in Exercise Science. He is an active member of Lambda Phi Epsilon, the world’s largest Asian-interest fraternity, and UConn Hip-Hop Initiative, where he serves as Social Media Director.
How has your membership in Lambda Phi Epsilon supported you as an Asian American student and the Asian American community as a whole?
Lambda Phi Epsilon has helped me find my cultural voice, not only in a predominantly white community, but as an Asian American. I grew up all around different central Connecticut towns like Bristol, Terryville, and Naugatuck where Asian Americans were scarce. In order to feel like I fit in, I repressed my Asian culture and allowed passive racism for the sake of having friends. Lambda Phi Epsilon allows me to make connections with Asian brothers all around the world. This tight-knit connection amongst Asian leaders inspires me to express my cultural identity freely and to be the best version of myself holistically. The mere existence and representation of pride in Asian culture is vital to the Asian community, especially today with rising hate crimes against Asians, as it shows unity and fortitude to sustain our identity.
Speak on the marketing and digital media design skills you have honed through Hip-Hop Initiative and other involvements. How do you see these skills helping you in your future career?
The marketing and digital media design skills have helped me tremendously to find a creative outlet that can be seen and appreciated. The skills I’ve developed have inspired me to continue digital art and video production as a hobby. However, these skills are very important in helping me recognize marketing tactics that can have a variety of real world applications such as knowing your audience, catering towards the demands of the audience, editing art to be “clean, professional, and marketable”, managing time and stress to create art, and ultimately learning to enjoy creating original art.
What unique skills has your Exercise Science major given you, and how do you see it helping in your future career?
My exercise major has taught me a lot about the general cornerstones of maintaining a functional adult life such as mental fortitude, nutrition, rehabbing gym injuries, and staying fit. My future career is currently uncertain but the general foundation of taking a good amount of lab sciences prepares me to take on a multitude of science careers.
You will be a Senior this upcoming semester. If you could go back in time, what advice would you have given your freshman self? What is your advice for students new to UConn in general?
I would tell myself to focus on making deeper connections with everybody you meet. We have the potential to meet new people and connect deeper than our social media networks. Don’t be afraid to talk to the person sitting next to you in class, the cute girl that you see at the dining hall, or even your professors. Networking is a vital resource for career development as you may never know what opportunities a person can present to you.