Posted by Bruce Wood on Jun 06, 2023

It's not all work and no play for Rotary Global Scholar Sally Yan. She has continued with some of her favorite extracurricular activities and hobbies. She made it onto the Cambridge University Dancesport Team and she's been training and competing in Latin and Ballroom dance with them since October. Back in February, she competed at the Intervarsity Dance Competition--the national collegiate ballroom competition in the U.K., where our team took home second place. 
Note: The following letter and photos were sent to Rotarian Bill Davis from Rotary Global Scholar Sally Yan at Cambridge University

Dear Bill,
I've been very well! And it definitely seems that spring has finally begun in Cambridge in the last week or two--so much so that I asked my friend to take a couple of photos in the tulip field in our college on our way to the library yesterday:

It also seems like the busiest season of the academic year has arrived with Spring. I spend a lot of time in the library now working on my dissertation, which is on the entanglement of politics and public health in this series of propaganda posters in China in the 1950s right at the beginning of the Mao regime. They essentially accused the U.S. of germ warfare during the Korean War (very likely falsely with the evidence that's come to light in the last few decades) in order to mobilize their citizens to conduct of public health and hygiene campaign. One of these strange and interesting posters attached here:

It's really rewarding to be able to write about these posters, which were collected by the British scientist and sinologist Joseph Needham and now stored at the Needham Research Institute in Cambridge. It was actually posters from a similar campaign to eradicate the parasite Schistosomiasis in the 1960s (though accusing some of the Communist Party's internal enemies rather than the U.S. of sabotage) that first drew my attention to impact of politics on public health and made me interested in the history of medicine a few years ago. It seems fitting that this is the last piece of work I write here before I take my historian cap off for now and learn to practice medicine at Long SoM in San Antonio.
But it hasn't just been all academics here at Cambridge--I think one of the most valuable parts of being here and especially at my college (Wolfson College), which we were told early on has students from 97 different countries, has been getting to chat with and, in some cases, become truly good friends with people from all sorts of different cultural, religious, and educational backgrounds. Some of these friends invited me to a small Eid-al-Fitr celebration to mark the end of Ramadan last weekend:

And I've continued with some of my favorite extracurricular activities and hobbies. I made it onto the Cambridge University Dancesport Team and have been training and competing in Latin and Ballroom dance with them since October. Back in February, we competed at the Intervarsity Dance Competition--the national collegiate ballroom competition in the U.K., where my partner and I did very well in our categories and our team took home second place. 

I've also always really enjoyed organizing and presenting at conferences, and I've continued to do that here. In addition to the postgraduate conference in Oxford of the British Society for the History of Science about a month ago, I'm both helping to organize and presenting at a conference for student researchers at my college later this week. It's quite an important event at my college, where around 40 students will present and the President and Senior Tutor attend. The number of little details involved in organizing an event always seems endless, but it'll be so rewarding to see it come together later this week and hear everyone talk about their fascinating research. 
And, of course, my host club--the Cambridge-Sawston Rotary Club--and my host--Sally Stewart--has made me feel so welcome during my time here. (The fact that we're both named Sally never ceases to cause a little bit of confusion for others.) Here is a picture of us from the Welcome Night for Rotary Scholars back in October:

Since then, I've had the chance to speak at one of their club meetings at a charming little pub in Sawston Village, as well as one other club, and talk about both my path here and some of what I've been working on for my course at Cambridge. They also invited me to the Charter Dinner for their club in November, which commemorated the founding of their club, where the High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire spoke about her experience and goals in taking up a post that began with burly Normans wearing ostrich feathers and wielding swords 800 years ago. I'm also helping out with their annual Fun Run, which benefits the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity and Cambridge Cancer Help Centre, next weekend.
I think that provides a brief albeit very-belated summary of my time here. I do apologize for not being in touch more often as I am infinitely grateful for the support that you and everyone I've gotten to know affiliated with Rotary back in Texas have provided. I've learned so so much here--not only about my subject of study but about the world and my place in it--and it really would not have been possible with Rotary's support.
Also, please let Surabi know that I'm more than happy to chat with her and give her any tips or advice about studying in the U.K. I wish her the very best of luck with the rest of the Rotary application process and with getting things in order to come to the U.K. 
I'll be back in Houston for three weeks at the beginning of July before heading to San Antonio for medical school, and I would love to meet with you and with any future Rotary scholars who might want some insight.
Best Regards,