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Alison Tan

Being at Caltech is a humbling experience. Once accepted, you’re connected to a small but mighty network of students, faculty, staff, and alumni who truly want each other to succeed. Thanks to the scholarship I received, this close-knit community has supported my exploration from day one. You, too, can support students like me through your annual gift to Caltech.

While enjoying core classes and bioengineering studies, I found my humanities courses a nice complement to problem sets. There were no right or wrong answers; I could provide my own interpretations. Literature classes helped me maintain balance and build strong communication and writing skills that enable me to articulate concepts across divisions.

As Techers, we’re encouraged to have fun and investigate our diverse passions—and writing spoke to me. During my sophomore year, I studied Irish literature with Professor Kevin Gilmartin, who saw my love of literature and challenged me to do more. So I undertook a second major in English and consumed every literature course I could, including British Romantics, Gothic fiction, and Medieval literature.

In the summer of 2012, I had the opportunity to explore my literary research interests on a trip to Ireland with the Caltech Alumni Association. As our local alumnus host helped me discover the places that had inspired the literature I read, the words came to life. My alumni travel companions supported my enthusiasm and shared advice, welcoming me as a fellow member of the Caltech family.

After my trip to Ireland, I was motivated to focus my English thesis on contemporary Irish women poets, an underexplored territory. Whether it’s neural synapses or poetry interpretation, I feel compelled to investigate areas that are largely unknown.

As a member of our Caltech community, you can help students pursue their thirst for discovery through your gift today. I can’t wait to pay it forward as a Caltech alumna and help future students through my own contributions.

Every gift, every year, every alum. Your contribution enables the New Generation of Techers to follow their passions, wherever they may lead.


Alison Tan ’14
Bioengineering and English