Have You Met… Joyce Yu?

Have you met Joyce, Digital Communications Strategist in the Office of Advancement? Spend the next few minutes getting to know her a…

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Photo by Ryan Whitefield

Have you met Joyce, Digital Communications Strategist in the Office of Advancement? Spend the next few minutes getting to know her a little better.

Where is your favourite place on campus?

A little lab in the bottom of the Old Arts Building called Vita lab. When I was a grad student my lab was in the Old Arts Building, so I spent a lot of time there with my friends. Either doing thesis work or just procrastinating.

Tablet or paper?

My phone is my constant companion, but I’ll sometimes start on paper, get annoyed, and then end up typing. So a mixture of both.

Name one thing you’ve brought to work from home.

A lot of types of tea. I have a chocolate chai tea, a hot chocolate tea, a lavender earl grey, a cream of earl grey, a mint tea, a green tea, and a genmaicha tea. I joke that my file cabinet is actually my pantry.

What is the one thing you can’t live without?

Living in a multicultural society. I couldn’t live without having different perspectives, languages, or cultural touch points surrounding me. I think that’s important for us to not be stuck in ‘our way is the right way’ kind of mentalities.

If you won airfare to anywhere in the world, where would you go?

There’s two. The first is a trip my family has been talking about doing where you start off in Dubai, then go to Oman, over to Sri Lanka, to India, and then Southeast Asia. The other is the Giraffe Manor in Nairobi. It’s a giraffe conservation center where the giraffes get to roam free.

You can invite anyone — alive or dead, real or fictional — to dinner. Who would it be?

My best friend. She died in a car accident when she was 20. We have a lot to catch up on. The thing that I wish I could tell her is that her never-ending belief that Severus Snape was never a villain turned out to be true (she died in 2004 before the last two books came out).

If you could switch jobs with someone else on campus for a week, what would you do?

I’d switch with Linda Quirk. She’s the librarian at the Bruce Peel Special Collections. One of my favourite movie scenes is in Beauty and the Beast when the Beast gives Belle the giant library — I had a similar feeling the first time I walked into the Bruce Peel library. I met Linda as a part of a project, and she told me stories behind some of the books in the collection. She debunked the myth that one of the books was made out of human skin, and how another triggered the start of witch hunts and witch burnings. I didn’t tell her this when I met her, but in my mind I thought: I live here now.

I also think it would kind of be nice to be Murphy the therapy dog. Just to hang around with people and make them happy.

What does “uplifting the whole people” mean to you?

A friend of mine and I have a nerdy podcast, and recently we’ve been talking about Game of Thrones. So the first thing that comes to mind is the Night King raising his arms.

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My more serious answer is I think of “uplifting the whole people” as the University’s education belonging to everyone. It means being inclusive and supporting everyone having access to education and to not make post-secondary seem elitist.

If you could solve any problem in the world, what would it be?

People being able to understand a perspective and worldview outside of their own. I wish that we as a collective could get to a place where we are supportive of everyone else’s choices on how they live, who they are, etc. I’d like to see us be in a place where someone will say “I’m an X, Y, or Z” and the response isn’t “that’s weird” — because it’s not, it’s just different. “That’s weird” is just a judgement coming from not understanding another person’s perspective. I wish we could do better to genuinely listen to each other, especially when we have conflicting ideals, rather than just waiting for our turn to talk, and that people could learn to be respectful of a choice they wouldn’t choose for themselves. This is why multiculturalism is so important to me — I think if we see many ways of how people live, you will realize your way is not the only right one.

What 3 words best describe your U of A experience?

Home away from home (I realize that’s four words). I did two degrees here, I now work here, and I have formed a lot of meaningful friendships and mentorships here. The U of A has done a lot for me personally and professionally, and “home away from home” sums that up.

About Joyce Yu

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Joyce Yu is the Digital Communications Strategist with Advancement Strategic Communications and is best known around campus as @UAlbertaAlumni. Joyce graduated from the Faculty of Arts with a BA in English and French and an MA in Humanities Computing (now Digital Humanities). She is reluctantly trying to master writing about herself in the third person.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.