Amber Chia

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University of California San Diego
Cognitive Science & International Business 2022 — Present .edu verified

Essay that got me into

Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time.

As a section editor, I learned that the arrow keys in the right corner of the keyboard were the most pivotal in the editing process. Upon selecting the graphic and tapping the right arrow key, the word "competition" was no longer distorted into "co" "mpeti" "tion" between two lines of text, and the InDesign spread became readable. That was the power a single keystroke, although seemingly insignificant, can make for a spread. When promoted to Managing Editor for my school's newsmagazine, the Highlander, I integrated a keystroke mentality, of small "taps" creating drastic changes into leading a team of 5 editors and 25 staff writers.

Leading the class with 4 of 5 section editors being juniors with minimal editing experience, I began by devising exercises where editors analyzed others' work, guiding them to develop their design style. When receiving the first editor's drafts, I felt an urge to comment on every detail. However, I remembered that every individual's style present in the newsmagazine would be vital to accurately represent the cumulation of everyone's work, not just mine.

Meeting with each editor to provide feedback, I strived to foster an encouraging environment. Each comment was similar to a tap on the arrow key. Although revisions, such as aligning text boxes or adding semicolons, seem minor, the accumulated "taps" drastically improves the spread's dynamic. Comments weren't intended to transform the spread. Instead, their purpose was to improve the editors' work. When editors gleamed at their spread proudly claiming their work, I understood the productivity of minimal revisions when leading group efforts.

This analogy transferred to other leadership roles, such as tutoring kids. I started tutoring Matthew when he entered kindergarten. Throughout the years, I have realized that an equal balance of encouragement and criticism must be implemented to allow students to flourish. He is currently in the third grade and it has been extremely satisfying to witness his growth. Leadership isn't instilling dramatic changes into others. Rather, it is adopting methods to accumulate a team's ideas. Looking forward, this keyboard mentality will forever be tapped into my future endeavors.