“The Macaulay Opportunities Fund offered me a way of stepping out of my comfort zone and into the world in a new way.”

New experiences are front and center for Alison Wong. With burgeoning confidence, Alison traveled far from New York City and her Chinese-German household where her passion for cooking across cultures was born. Her first stop was Florence, Italy’s Apicius International School of Hospitality.

While in Italy, she not only learned about Italian cuisine from an anthropological perspective; she also took a hands-on food and wine cooking class. A photographer, she also made time to “live out my artistic dreams of visiting the Uffizi Gallery and practicing my photography skills along the Tuscan hillsides.”

Although Alison went further in miles in her senior year, she got closer to her ancestry. The Macaulay Opportunities Fund afforded her the means to experience Beijing, Xi’an, Nanjing, Huangshan, Yangzhou, and Shanghai. “Though the historical analysis of the Silk Road, I was able to connect back with my roots and experience food and culture from my own heritage,” she says. “Studying abroad has motivated an interest in traveling and experiencing new flavors.”

Closer to home, Alison used her Opportunities Fund to pursue an unpaid internship at the Center For Environmental Research and Conservation at Columbia University. While there, she completed a case study on New York policies on hydraulic fracturing for the Inquire Institute. The teachings fit squarely with her senior thesis statement on the regulations, litigation, and controversy of fracking. She also bridged her studies across her dual major by interning for Brooklyn, New York City Councilmember Brad Lander. While there, she helped persuade local businesses to stock compostable bags in support of the Sanitation Department’s Organics Program.

After graduation, Alison’s next stop is Harare, Zimbabwe. As a Jeannette K. Watson Fellow, she will serve as a marketing Intern with Hoops4Hope. Alison credits the tight Macaulay community with supporting her through the kind of personal growth she now proudly embraces. Alison plans to continue her journeys by applying to Beijing’s Tsinghua University Schwartzman Scholars Program and for a Fulbright fellowship. She is a Lisa Goldberg/Revson Scholar.

Macaulay student on mountaintop during study abroad trip