Doing it all: Pharmacy student stays involved in activities he’s passionate about outside of the classroom
By: Alana Flinn | @alana_flinn
Standing in his apartment kitchen, 4P pharmacy student Alex Kong adds a splash of whiskey to his apple cupcake mixture. For Kong, baking is a way for him to turn the science he studies into something fun.
“I started baking when I was working on an experiment I couldn’t get down,” Kong said. “I was frustrated with it because I couldn’t get it to work. During this time, I gained my appreciation for [baking] because so much of chemistry and experiments go into baking.”
However, baking is just Kong’s hobby to help him unwind, following a day of working on a large variety of activities.
Kong conducts pharmaceutical research in two labs on campus, is the business director and member of Genuine Imitation A Cappella and the 4P pharmacy class president.
Beyond that, Kong is the chapter president of Mortar Board Honor Society, the founder and president of Society of Scientists and a co-founder of ResearchRx. He’s also an ambassador for the Center for Undergraduate Research, an ambassador for the Honors Program and a Scholar for the Hall Center for the Humanities.
Kong is also working on writing a personal memoir about his life as a second-generation Chinese American and on Thursdays, Kong reads the University Daily Kansan to the blind.
And how does Kong manage to have time for each of these organizations and events?
“Not well,” Kong said jokingly.
However, Kong said he thinks he has done a “pretty good job of making sure everything goes smooth so far.”
For Kong, being involved with so many organizations on campus is less about building a resume and more about pursuing his passions.
“I’m involved in a lot of things, but what’s cool about that is I’m involved in so much because I really do care about every activity I’ve committed to,” Kong said.
While it may seem like Kong does it all, he does tend to avoid certain types of activities.
“Pretty much anything that requires physical coordination and gracefulness,” Kong said.
Luckily, Kong’s passions are less about physical ability and more about brainpower. Looking to the future, Kong said he thinks engulfing himself in activities, events and organizations will pay off in applications for scholarships and graduate school, but that is not his priority. Long term, Kong sees himself as a professor at a university.
“I hope to work at a university where I can research and teach,” Kong said. “It’s hard to pinpoint a certain topic, especially since I know that I have so many more professors to work with in the future and areas to discover, but it will be in some way related to drug development. [Being involved] has helped me to become a more well-rounded person. For me, it’s never really been about boosting my resume so much as doing the things that I legitimately enjoy.”
But, for now, Kong is encouraging younger students to pursue their own passions.
“A lot of the time, when I meet with these prospective students, they talk about how they’re really passionate about a sport or their religion or music, but they don’t know if they can manage it on top of their studies,” Kong said. “And what I like to tell them is to not let their passions die, because even though you’re switching to college and have these preconceived notions about what college will be like, it’s really a shame to let these passions go.”
Kong, who finds that everything he has been involved with at the University has truly shaped him into the person he is now, really encourages others to do the same.
“All of these experiences that I’ve had have become part of who I am,” Kong said. “All of these things come together and having something to be passionate about, whether it be one thing or several, has been a really defining moment in my KU experience and I feel like it should be in others as well.”
While Kong spends more time in the lab than the kitchen, he does have a baking specialty.
“Alcoholic cupcakes,” Kong said. “I have this huge alcohol collection, but I don’t drink. I just put it into food.”
— Edited by Miranda Davis