Frederick Ding: Penn Ambassador, Leader and Mentor

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Media Contact:Jeanne Leong | | 215-573-8151January 24, 2014

Frederick Ding’s interest in making an impact by improving the lives of others begins with his work on campus assisting fellow students at the University of Pennsylvania.

The bioengineering major from Richmond Hill, Ontario, is co-chair of Penn’s International Student Advisory Board. The ISAB is involved in initiatives to help international students become acclimated to life on campus, and he works to help international students have their voices heard on issues that matter to them.

In his freshman year living at Ware College House, Ding helped to develop its Website and later became its information technology manager. After living off campus for one year, the junior is now back at Ware as a resident advisor.   

“It’s been exciting to be a mentor,” Ding says. “I enjoy seeing and working with younger people and being able to give them advice, if they ask for it.”

As part of his RA duties, Ding oversees two residential programs in Ware, Women in Science and Study of Infectious Diseases.

The programs, led by house fellow Helen Davies, a professor of microbiology in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, offers mentoring for students interested in careers in the sciences. This includes the opportunity to attend physician conferences with doctors from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Hospital.

“These are real world cases that we’re able to take a peek at as silent observers, thanks to Helen’s position,” Ding says. “For many of our pre-med students, that’s a real eye-opener.”

As a member of the Canadian Club on campus, Ding has been a Penn ambassador to newly accepted students. The group holds a phone bank each spring to congratulate them and to answer any questions they have about campus life and living in Philadelphia.

“We really try to help the Canadian students. Sometimes we crack a few self-deprecating jokes with Canadian humor,” says Ding, “but most of our activities are either social or related to admissions or professional development.”

The group also recently began offering the undergraduates the opportunity to connect with their counterparts in the Wharton MBA program who can offer professional advice on jobs in the U.S. and Canada.

Ding is also making a difference as vice chair for elections of the Nominations and Elections Committee, overseeing voting for student government positions. The NEC administers the races for Class Board and the Undergraduate Assembly. The committee also appoints undergraduates to committees in university governance, such as trustee committees, University Council and the advisory committees that select school deans. He says he likes this type of behind-the-scenes work.

“It's quite exciting,” Ding says. “My specific role is to lay out the law as it's written, make judgment calls in interpreting those rules, put eligible candidates on the ballot and declare the results.”

While Ding plans to pursue a career in medicine or law, he’s happy for now to be making a difference right here on campus.