Global Alumni Spotlight: Kelly Cui

The Beijing Alumni Chapter hosts a reunion. Ms. Cui is pictured in the front row, third from the left, in the center of the photo. Credit: Penn State Beijing Alumni ChapterAll Rights Reserved.

Kelly Cui is president of the PSAA Beijing Alumni Chapter. She graduated from Penn State in 2015 with a degree in Environmental Systems Engineering from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Currently, she is a project manager with Merck Group in Beijing. Cui works closely with Penn State’s Global Programs on various projects. Most recently she participated as an alumni panelist on a panel titled “The Global Impact of Penn State Alumni."

1) What have you been up to since you graduated from Penn State?

I worked in Stuttgart, Germany in energy design for a construction company from 2016 to 2017, then came back to China by end of May 2017. I transferred into pharmaceutical field in March 2018 and I am with Merck Serono now.

2) What’s the most impactful experience you had at Penn State?

The White Out! I went to the white out game in 2014 against Ohio State. It was an amazing game. Even though we lost after two overtimes, it was still a great game. That’s an irreplaceable experience. It's different from watching a professional league game. The ownership and the sense of belonging is the most impactful experience I had at Penn State.

3) How has your experience as an international student at Penn State shaped your life and perspective after graduation?

My experience as an international student at Penn State has provided me with the ability to adjust to any environment. After graduation, I went to Germany for work. I did not need to consider the cultural differences and language difficulties because I already felt comfortable living in a culture outside the one I was raised in.

My experience as an international student also equipped me with the ability to think from different perspective. With really different social and cultural backgrounds between China and the USA, I am able to understand the differences from both sides on the same event and why they think that way. I wouldn’t say that I’m not biased, but at least I am able to say that I can acknowledge both cultural backgrounds and standpoints. I think these are the most valuable lessons I obtained from being an international student.

4) What does it mean to you to be a Penn Stater?

It is both a valuable and memorable experience to be a Penn Stater. I think my desire to join and run the Beijing Alumni Chapter was mostly motivated by seeking out people who had the same experience and shared the same excitement when reminiscing on the time we had with Penn State.

There are some who graduated in different decades who contributed their time to Alumni association because what they learned and experienced in Penn State gave them the sense of belonging and always identified them as a Penn Stater even if they went to several colleges over their lifetime. This identity makes us proud, united, and willing to pass our tradition and share our experience with fellow Penn Staters.

5) Tell us about your work with the Beijing Alumni Chapter.

What we usually do in Alumni Chapter is gather as many Alumni as possible, through Linked-in or a search engine. The more people we gather, the more information we could exchange between each professional field, like job opportunities and suggestions. Also, we arrange football watching events every football season, even though most game times are after midnight in China.

6) If you could impart one bit of wisdom to Penn State students, what would it be?

Get involved with campus activities as much as possible outside of professional study. White out, homecoming, THON - these are the some of the most distinguished experiences available to Penn Staters that you would never find somewhere else. These are also the most common memories for Penn Staters. Always remember what we would shout out - WE ARE!


Last Updated December 16, 2020