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Hannah Wolf ’13

“I used to be shy and terrified of the unknown.
It’s OK if you fail, but it’s not OK if you fail because you’re too afraid to try.”

Changemaker Scholarship recipient and McNair Scholar Hannah Wolf ’13 has found that the most important thing is to be herself at the most basic level; that’s when fundamental change takes place.

“I’ve grown tremendously in the last decade. It’s been a long process to learn who I am as a person, and learning to like who I am as a person. In 2012, I went to China with Dr. Yi Sun for 24 days and looked at the consumption by women in the middle class of brand name products and the intangible experiences like traveling, studying abroad and going out to eat. In the midst of it all, I found that I love academia and that I love research. I’m looking at how research can fit into the broader scope of international business.

The first day was rough. My two semesters of Chinese were completely useless. I couldn’t even order a bottle of water and went back to my room and cried. But by the last day, I was taking the subway by myself in rush hour and I was fine. I thrived there. I loved it and can’t wait to go back. I know it sounds grandiose, but I want to help Americans see China the way it is — not through rose-colored glasses and not with red fear or the fear that they’re stealing jobs or jeopardizing Internet security.

If we can see other people as having the same hopes and dreams and the same problems and fears that we do, then they’re not some faceless entity that we’re scared of — they’re someone like us.

I’m not saying it’ll bring world peace, but at the very least, it might make people stop and think before they do something or speak up when they might not otherwise. I may only be able to affect that kind of change among my friends, but even if I change one person’s view, it’s a start.

To be a Changemaker, you have to be yourself. So often we act the way we think people want us to act, but you have to be your true self.”