Alumni Highlight – December 2015

With lots of activity and accomplishments brewing among the alumni, we will be highlighting one member each month to share a little insight into the personal news from around our FSU AAA community.

For this month’s Alumni Highlight, we are shining some light on an alumna who has contributed a lot to the FSU AAPI community as well as building a career in Higher Education. Additionally, she currently serves as one of FSU AAA’s Board of Governors.


Name: Gillian Lie
Graduated: 2003 – BS; 2004 – MS, Learning Disabilities & Emotional Disturbances
Location: Colorado
Occupation: Faculty at Western State Colorado University

Interviewed by Rosalyn Chen

  1. What does your job entail?

    “I teach in the graduate and undergraduate programs, as well as advise graduate students in the Education department. I also oversee the Special Education Program and assist with the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education Program.”

  2. What do you like most about your job?

    “Fighting for social justice within education. I recently finished rebuilding the Special Education Program in my university and collaborated with the Colorado State Department of Education to improve educator preparation, licensing rules and content assessment alignment. I also co-authored a grant that assists in increasing statewide outreach to improve teacher recruitment in rural crisis areas in Colorado. I’m proud to say that my proposal was accepted for a presentation at a national conference next year.”

  3. What does a “day in the life” look like for you?

    “Since I live in Colorado where it’s chilly, there’s no A/C in the houses – only heaters. At night, I leave the windows open until morning waking up to extremely fresh and crisp air. I love the smell of blue spruces and pine trees everywhere! Throughout the day, I try to make time to talk with my loved ones. My day ends with the feeling of continued blessings because I get to teach and influence minds while getting involved in initiatives that benefit students and the education system as a whole.”

  4. Life outside of work, interests and hobbies?

    “I don’t often see my family and long-time friends, so I take this opportunity to improve myself through new experiences. I live near Aspen where mountains and lakes are abundant, so I took up skiing/snowboarding and, most recently, paddle boarding. I also take scenic drives, bike rides, travel and spend quality time with quality people. I’m not naturally an outdoors-y girl, but my approach to life is that it’s a continuous cycle of improvement. I truly believe that! I owe it to myself to at least try new things.”

  5. Words of advice to undergrads who are seeking the same line of work?

    “I like to be reminded of the phrase, “When opportunity meets preparation”. I originally taught in grade school, but when my current position opened up, I decided to take the next step. I’d say prepare the best you can, do your own research, ask the right questions, assess your findings and take calculated risks. Most importantly, be honest with yourself and follow your passion!”

  6. What organizations were you involved in at FSU?

    “I was one of the Presidents and a founding sister of FSU’s chapter of alpha Kappa Delta Phi (aKDPHi). I was also the Secretary of then-Asian Student Union for a few years as well as being involved in the Garnet & Gold Society. During my Post-graduate years, I was the philanthropy chair of the aKDPhi Alumni Association and now on FSU AAA’s Board of Governors.

  7. What made you decide to introduce aKDPhi on campus?

    “At the time, there was a lack of Asian representation and awareness on campus. With the guidance of Maves Ranola and Rizcion Dagani, we decided to pursue the vision of creating a community for Asian American girls on campus. We first formed P.A.A.W.S., an Asian American Women’s Organization, which later led to aKDPHi. We wanted to instill a sense of community through friendship, cultural awareness and community service.”

  8. Reflect back on your freshman year to now. How do you remember your college experience?

    “Overall, I had an incredible experience! I went through a lot of academic growth, social growth, spiritual growth and, most importantly, personal growth. I really credit that growth to my experiences at FSU and the level of support I received from my loved ones.”

  9. Tell me about an accomplishment you’re most proud of?

    “Not being resistant to change! I’ve undergone a lot of professional and personal changes while learning to adapt to them all pretty well!”

  10. What do you look forward to or anticipate for your future?

    “I am getting married soon! We plan to celebrate this special occasion in Europe with family. I’d like to continue to embrace and explore what life has to offer. It’s about the journey, not the destination.”


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