Songying Fang

Why I Volunteer

SONGYING FANG

Songying is a faculty member in the Political Science Department who prioritizes helping students as they navigate life and career choices. She recognizes the challenges that foreign students face and works to ease their transition.

In what roles have you volunteered for Rice?    

The type of volunteer work that I typically do involves making time for students outside of class. I listen to their experiences and maintain communications with students who have graduated, often weighing in on career choices. When needed, I reach out to those who might be experiencing special challenges, particularly foreign students. As an Asian faculty member and having been a foreign graduate student, I see myself as having a unique role to play in helping foreign and minority students navigate life at Rice.

Why do you volunteer for Rice?

I feel that it is such a privilege to do what I do — research and teaching. I feel particularly fortunate to do so at Rice, where there are great students. Helping students realize their potential by sharing my knowledge and life experiences seems like the most natural thing to do given this privilege.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at Rice?

I like to hear students’ perspectives. I have taught Introduction to International Politics for several years. I find that the life experiences of my students change a lot every few years. So it is important to update my understanding of my students in order to teach effectively. Their thoughts also help expand my understanding of the world.

What would you say to your fellow alumni/parents/friends to encourage them to volunteer for Rice?

Anybody who can afford to give something to others is a lucky person.