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Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Profiles: Brittany Wu

April 25, 2022

Brittany joined Noodle after working at the career services and the professionalism department at Penn Law. Overall, she is passionate about thinking critically on how to make the U.S. education system equitable. Brittany holds a M.S.Ed in Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to her master’s, she double majored in Early Childhood Family Studies and Spanish, along with a minor in Diversity at the University of Washington.

Meet Enrollment Advisor Brittany Wu

I work in education because I identify as a first-generation college student… With that experience, it also made me think creatively about how I could help other first-generation college students apply to college and succeed there.

What does it mean for you to identify as Asian American?

As Asian Americans, we’re immigrants and refugees who have struggled to come to America and grow. At the same time, it’s important to acknowledge that this question is a very complex one. There are many countries, many cultures, many languages that make up the group described as “Asian American.” I think what holds us together is the bond through our families to our culture, expressed not only through our languages but also through our foods and other traditions. The question of identity is a profound, complex one.

The spike in anti-Asian crime is a very important issue. To fight it is to encourage everyone to listen to one another and engage in our stories, engage in those conversations. It is critical to read the history of Asian Americans in order to gain knowledge and perspective. And we should also question and fight any biases we might have or call out bias/hate when you see it.

Why did you choose to work in education? How have your educational experiences shaped your career?

I work in education because I identify as a first-generation college student. One way to expand upon your family and success is through education, and for me it was always important to pursue it. With that experience, it also made me think creatively about how I could help other first-generation college students apply to college and succeed there.

What makes a leader great?

Prioritize our employees and make sure that they have the support they need so that they and the company can succeed. 

When you think of great leadership, who comes to mind? Why?

The first person who comes to mind is Greta Thunberg, not just because climate justice is so important, but also because of her bravery in standing up before world leaders, speaking her mind and sticking to her principles. The second person is the late Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, the lawyer and civil rights activist who coined the term “intersectionality.” Intersectionality refers to considering how separate aspects of a person’s identity combine to create different modes of discrimination and privilege. She also speaks about how intersectionality should be considered when developing social policy. 

Who are some Asian or AAPI leaders you admire or look up to?

One leader who I admired and still remember as a hero is the late Grace Lee Boggs, the extraordinary author, activist and feminist. Through some seven decades of activism, she came to be regarded as a key figure in the Asian American Movement. She was also a person who recognized the complexity of Asian Americans – not one struggle is the same – and she was still active even at the age of 95, when she wrote The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the 21st Century.

How has your personal leadership style evolved?

In a couple of different ways. To me, the idea of prioritizing employees has become more important, not only in business but also in politics or in other organizations. 

What is it about your background or career experiences that successfully positioned you for your role at Noodle? Describe that role.

When working at the University of Washington, I focused on student identity development, working closely with students in order to be a voice and an advocate for them. Later, at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, I worked in Career Services. Both experiences stretched my thinking about how to interact with students and help ensure that their experience is a positive one, as well as to help with any obstacles they might face.

How do you support the success of your team?

I think the most critical factor to me is that it’s important to admit to myself when I’m wrong, in order to grow from the experience.

What are some of the most effective tools in your leadership arsenal?

I concentrate on being an active listener and actively reflecting on the conversations I have.

Please tell us something about yourself that people would be surprised to learn.

I am a licensed scuba diver and have dove in such places as Hawaii and Mexico.

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