Interview with Katrina Hsu, Director of Communications

Interview with Katrina Hsu, Director of Communications:

This month’s blog features Ms. Katrina Hsu, one of the Reading Bear’s most dedicated and inspirational volunteers. Currently a member of the Board of Directors, Katrina first joined the RBS in 2012 as an undergraduate student at Simon Fraser University. With her hard work and leadership qualities, she rapidly rose to become Chair of Communications and created the RBS newsletter all while finishing her B.Sc. then pursuing a master’s degree in Global Health at McMaster University. Katrina’s dedication and relentless efforts to build the RBS has allowed the Society to flourish over the past four years.

-Dr. Joanne Roussy, RBS President

1. Tell us about yourself.

I have just finished my master’s degree this past August. I had the amazing opportunity to study at different universities around the world: completing courses in technology and innovation in healthcare at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, presenting my scholarly paper abstract at Manipal University in India, and collaborating on a research project on illicit substance use at the University Institute of Lisbon in Portugal. Since finishing my degree, I am now taking a break from studying and am working at St. Paul’s Hospital in the Renal Transplant Program.

2. How did you become involved in the Reading Bear Society?

I first became involved as a third-year student at SFU looking for a meaningful way to spend my extracurricular time.

3. What is your current role with the RBS?

I currently manage the communications branch of the Reading Bear as Director of Communications. I have been editor of the newsletter since 2014 and have helped develop our social media presence and work on our internal communications policies and other documents.

4. What is your best memory of the RBS?

One of my favorite memories involving the Reading Bear was when I had the opportunity to take the program to Africa in 2015. I adapted the Reading Bear’s StrongStart modules to present at a school in Zambia, bringing a reading bear and books for the classroom, and extra books for the kids to take home.
I was worried the kids might not be interested as they had no other books in the classroom and might never have listened to books read aloud to them before. Instead, I read books to a captivated classroom, rows of kids sitting wide-eyed and attentive as if they had story time every day of the week. I was struck by two things: how similar the children were to their Vancouver counterparts, and the amazing and universal power of stories told through books.

5. Why do you support the RBS?
When I first joined the RBS, it was about my personal love for reading and a desire to share the joy and rewards of reading with children in Vancouver who may not have grown up with many books in their home. Over the past years, I have been continually surprised by the complexity behind the simple concept of a reading bear and a book. The Reading Bear is not just about reading! Behind the books and bears are lessons on diversity, mindfulness, environmental stewardship, emotional resilience, Indigenous values, healthy living habits, and much more. As a project which maintains a close partnership with UBC’s Faculty of Medicine, it makes sense that the Reading Bear is not simply about reading – it’s about promoting the health of children in Vancouver in the most complete sense: physical, mental, and social well-being. Healthier children lead to healthy communities, and I am proud to support an organization dedicated to this effort.