30.07.2021

Interview: Alvis Tang (ECOF) on Life As A HKUST Student

Alvis was awarded the Sir Edward Youde Memorial Scholarship and named finalist for the 2021 Mr Armin and Mrs Lillian Kitchell Undergraduate Research Award.

Being awarded the Sir Edward Youde Memorial Scholarship of the 2020-21 academic year, TANG, Tsz Yeung Alvis sees the award as a driving force for him to better equip himself to contribute to Hong Kong. “I am immensely grateful to the Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fund, my supervisor - Professor Sujata Visaria, my family and my friends who have guided and accompanied me along the way,” says Alvis, an upcoming final year student in the Economics and Finance (ECOF) program. “It is a great honour to be awarded the Sir Edward Youde Memorial Scholarship,” he says.

 

“I NOW EMBRACE ECONOMICS AS AN UNDER-UTILIZED FORCE FOR GOOD TO SOCIETY AND HOPE TO CONDUCT RESEARCH THAT CREATES A BETTER SOCIETY IN THE FUTURE”

 

Earlier this year, Alvis was named finalist for the 2021 Mr Armin and Mrs Lillian Kitchell Undergraduate Research Award. Besides taking the regular required courses for his major and minor programs, Alvis also took part in the HKUST X Minerva Scholars Program and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). The Minerva program “allowed me to fulfill my academic curiosity, to meet other similar-minded students and acquire rich knowledge from various fronts, from the principles of formal logic to literature appreciation, from research methodology of science to complexity science,” Alvis says. Alvis explains that joining the UROP allows him to have the opportunity to discover the subject of Economics in depth. “I was eager to discover the subject further, and to try conducting economic research was a natural next step. Having studied at HKUST for several years, I now embrace economics as an under-utilized force for good to society and hope to conduct research that creates a better society in the future,” says Alvis.

Alvis works as a part-time research assistant at the Center for Economic Policy at HKUST. He is also a member of Campus Crusade for Christ, HKUSTSU. Alvis believes that it is important to figure out the meaning and purpose of life when studying at the university. “While some might think that everything is random, I think it is important to introspect where one’s calling and the world’s needs meet. It would truly be a shame if one loses one’s selfhood in the best, freest years of his/her life,” Alvis says. “There are a lot of ways to seek one’s meaning of life and purpose,” he adds. “For some, the purpose is straightforward – to earn a lot of money and enjoy life. For some, this might be achieved by experimenting around with internships in diverse industries; and for some, this might entail consulting mentors and seniors,” Alvis says.

 

“ONE MUST FIND MEANING FROM SOMETHING INTRINSIC OF THE WORK AND WITHIN OURSELVES”

 

Becoming a research assistant at the Center for Economic Policy allows Alvis to “experience the day-to-days of conducting academic research. In the role, I had the opportunity to interact with faculty up close and to get my hands dirty in the behind-the-scenes of serious academic research,” says Alvis. Alvis experienced empirical research firsthand by working closely with faculty members, research assistants and students in the process. The research project that he worked on aimed to understand the financial behavior of Filipina domestic helpers. “I have grown to realize that well-designed economic research can test the causal impacts of interventions, even leading to policy solutions. This is particularly important because there is little basis for a rational policy debate without objective, honest evaluation,” Alvis says.

“Being a Christian myself, a key part of my journey has been in Campus Crusade for Christ, HKUSTSU. The society is a welcoming community for Christians and non-Christians to have conversations surrounding faith and values,” Alvis says. “Please feel free to contact us through email at su_ccc@connect.ust.hk or @hkustsuccc on Instagram,” he adds.

“As I interacted with members and mentors from the society, I grew to understand that what mattered was not the satisfaction of our material wants, or developing key career skills, or how high the salary was,” Alvis continues. “Indeed, all these are desirable attributes, yet these hygiene factors in and of themselves will not make one enjoy a fruitful life. Instead, one must find meaning from something intrinsic of the work and within ourselves,” Alvis says.


“YOU DON’T WANT TO BE DEADLINE FIGHTING FOR SIX PIECES OF HOMEWORK”

 

As a university student, Alvis faces many choices and comes across new opportunities every now and then. “To make the most out of university, take some time to introspect and think about what matters to you. Then invest your time in things that are meaningful to you and be a better person every day,” Alvis says. But even so, Alvis does not believe that devoting the entire day to coursework is the way to go. “Although coursework might seem overwhelming at times, I think it is important to have some me-time every day to recharge. This can be in the form of reading a book, taking a nap, doing some sports, or meditating,” says Alvis. He continues to explain that “another immensely important thing is to mark down your deadlines/things to do in a planner/schedule. You don’t want to be deadline fighting for six pieces of homework,” Alvis says.

Alvis concludes with a quote from Albert Einstein:

“It is not enough that you should understand about applied science in order that your work may increase men’s blessings. Concern for man himself and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavours, … concern for the great unsolved problems of the organization of labour and the distribution of goods – in order that the creations of our mind shall be a blessing and not a curse to mankind.”

 

Read more about Alvis’ sharing on the Students and Alumni Sharing page