Crossing Horizons

Anson Cheuk-Hin Chung's Journey in Political Science

Anson Cheuk-Hin Chung
Crossing Horizons: Anson Cheuk-Hin Chung's Journey in Political Science

Anson Cheuk-Hin Chung, a 2022 graduate of CCNY in Political Science and History, is currently pursuing an MA in Political Science at the University of Toronto. 

Where are you from, and what is your background story? Please share your details from the period before you arrived at CCNY.

I was born and raised in Hong Kong and immigrated to New York City when I was fifteen. Before my migration in 2016, Hong Kong had experienced several social movements, including the 2014 Umbrella Movement. This deeply influenced my political interests and broadened my understanding of democratic processes. The experience was further intensified upon witnessing the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the workings of the Electoral College. The struggles of fighting for democracy back home and the shock of how democracy works in America encouraged me to be invested in learning about the political system, and that became my focus when I was accepted into CCNY.

What brought you to CCNY and to the Colin Powell School?

To be very honest, CCNY was not my initial choice, and I intended to stay for just a year, having received a conditional offer from another institution for transfer after completing my first year of undergraduate study elsewhere. However, the sense of community at CCNY compelled me to stay. Particularly during the pandemic in 2020, the CCNY community remained connected online, allowing me to maintain strong relationships with professors and fellow students in every class. The support provided by CCNY during these challenging times, along with its commitment to maintaining various programs, truly made it a vibrant and supportive community. I owe much of my success today to the unwavering support I received from CCNY, especially during the pandemic.

What was your passion or purpose behind pursuing what you did at City College?

My passion is straightforward: it stems from my deep love for politics and political history. During my time at CCNY, I devoted myself to courses in political science and history, seeking answers to the complex behaviors of the polity. The accessibility and dedication of my professors, who continued to support me even after graduation, further fueled my passion for political science. Their ability to make the material engaging and their encouragement to question fundamental concepts in political science inspired me to pursue this field wholeheartedly.

Briefly, how has your career unfolded? How did City College and/or the Colin Powell School help you to get where you are in your career?

I initially entered the Division of Humanities and Arts as a history major, driven by my fascination with political history. However, my college journey led me to discover political science as a discipline through introductory courses like Intro to World Politics with Professor Nicholas Rush Smith. These courses deepened my interest, leading me to pursue academic avenues. I owe much of my career trajectory to mentors like Harry Blain and Andrés Besserer Rayas, who inspired and guided me in research and graduate school applications. Besser Rayas's invaluable support and guidance, especially in developing my research paper and securing the APSA fellowship, have been instrumental in my academic achievements.

Do you have any significant memories or accomplishments from your career or time at City College / Colin Powell School that you would like to share?

One of my most significant accomplishments was being selected as the Kaye Scholar by the Division of Humanities and Arts. Amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 transition, the application process was particularly demanding, amplifying the stress I faced. Prior to this achievement, I experienced rejection from the Skadden, Arps Honors Program in Legal Studies. While initially disheartening, this setback prompted introspection. It led me to realize my passion for law within the realm of social science, rather than its practice. The acceptance into the Kaye Scholars program became a pivotal moment at CCNY, illustrating that rejections can serve as guiding indicators towards unforeseen paths. It reinforced the notion that true fulfillment often emerges from unexpected journeys.

What advice would you give to current students or recent graduates majoring in your field of study?

For those considering graduate school, nurturing relationships with professors is paramount. CCNY's political science faculty are accessible and esteemed in the field, offering invaluable guidance for aspiring researchers. Whether uncertain about pursuing further education or delving into research, self-reflection is key. Assess your interest in theory exploration and engage with professors who have navigated graduate studies themselves. Remember, in social science, there are no definitive answers. Embrace topics of personal interest, as they may catalyze your academic journey, as they did mine, evolving into compelling research samples for graduate school applications.

What are your future aspirations for your career?

My aspirations include pursuing a PhD in Political Science, focusing on political and constitutional developments, particularly in Asia, with a spotlight on Hong Kong and Taiwan. My ongoing interest in migration politics and immigration policies across various nations, including Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, remains steadfast. Ultimately, I aim to contribute to the discourse on Asian politics, enriching political science literature, especially from the perspective of the Global South. As an APSA Diversity Fellow, I'm committed to amplifying underrepresented voices in political science, fostering a more inclusive and globally informed dialogue on politics and its myriad dimensions.

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