For Jennifer Liu, Leadership is Founded in Passion and Confidence

Jennifer Liu photo
Originally from Crestwood, Ky., a small town outside of Louisville, Jennifer Liu is a third-year professional student in the PharmD program. She plans to pursue a career specializing in infectious disease, an interest she’s held since she was young and has been heightened by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Her experiences on campus have also fostered an interest in health policy that will influence her values as a professional and which she hopes to incorporate into her career. 

Jennifer has developed an impressive resume of leadership positions and activities on and off campus. Jennifer is a committee secretary for Phi Delta Chi (the professional pharmacy fraternity), the special projects assistant in the Civic Engagement and Leadership Development office and has held a variety of positions for alpha Kappa Delta Phi. She is also involved with the Purdue American Association for University Women, Purdue Asian Student Union Board and Purdue Multicultural Greek Council.

She was not always so active, though, and Jennifer attributes her growth from shy freshmen to confident leader to two things: self-confidence and passion. When she reflects on how she developed these attributes, she recalls the mentors who helped get her started. 

“When I first came to Purdue as a freshman in 2016, I was extremely timid; I preferred to follow rather than lead. This was partially due to a lack of confidence, and partially due to not being passionate enough about something to take that leadership position.”

Jennifer’s one small step was rushing for alpha Kappa Delta Phi as a sophomore. The community helped her confidence, and the associated networks led to a position in the Civic Engagement and Leadership Development office. 

Noting the important role that campus staff play in developing Purdue’s students, Jennifer describes the CELD staff as genuine mentors who fostered the skills that would help her become a strong leader and professional: “They provided me with the support I needed to feel comfortable and confident in myself and my skills. With their encouragement, I was able to step outside of my comfort zone and take advantage of opportunities that I never would have considered as a freshman.” 

Jennifer has used these skills to pursue an understanding of public health policy and doing what she can to impact change in her community. She has lobbied for healthcare access with the Purdue AAUW, worked at the ACE Campus Food Pantry and helped at various voting and election events. She has also spoken publicly about issues of passion and apathy, presenting a Chew on Change talk to help students experiencing burnout or disconnection in their personal or academic lives.

“With each new experience, I found myself becoming more confident taking a prominent leading role.”

Jennifer encourages other students to consider cultivating passion, confidence and connection as active projects—even during a pandemic.

“College is the time to explore more about who you are and what you're passionate about,” and though it is easy to concentrate on classes, grades, and the next exam, “It’s just as important to spend this time developing yourself and building relationships.” 

Jennifer reminds us all that, “this is definitely a semester to remember,” and to continue making memories and seeking opportunities.

“Who I am today is 100% shaped by the organizations I joined and the people I met as a result of those organizations.”