Angela Cai '09
Angela Cai ’09 is currently attending Yale Law School, following two years of employment at Bridgewater Associates, an investment management firm in Westport, Conn.
She took full advantage of her undergraduate experience. In addition to her course work, she wrote for the student newspaper and was its managing editor in 2008, and traveled with the debate team.
One of the things that attracted Cai to Princeton was that although the students’ lives are famously active, “We weren’t busy for the sake of being busy. Everyone is driven to have an educational and social experience that’s fulfilling,” she says.
Cai knows people who started tutoring groups, studied in Africa or campaigned full time for a political candidate. They weren’t padding their resumes, says Cai; they were making the most of a supportive and open learning environment.
As a managing editor and senior writer for the student newspaper, Cai covered news and events around campus that she might have missed if she had not been on staff. She also got to mingle with famous Princeton minds; one of her stories profiled two Fields Medal winners associated with the University. The medal is considered the math world's equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
For Cai, debate added a crucial layer to the college experience, because “it makes you think critically about issues you wouldn’t think about even in the classroom.” As president of the Princeton University Debate Panel, Cai traveled with the team to tournaments nearly every weekend. She also was head of the Woodrow Wilson Honorary Debate Panel, an organization that selects and hosts prize debates.
In addition, she organized a high school debate tournament, which Princeton hosts annually. It was a mammoth administrative effort (more than 700 students participated), but well worth it to Cai, a New Jersey native who competed in the Princeton tournament herself as a high school student.
Cai was a Woodrow Wilson School concentrator and received certificates in environmental studies and American studies. Her senior thesis was “Commercial Surrogate Motherhood in America.” All of her classes at Princeton were "inspiring in different ways,” she says, both in and out of her concentration. Her favorites included “Civil Society and Public Policy” and two 20th-century art history courses.
The best part of “Civil Society and Public Policy” was the interactivity, says Cai. Professor Stanley Katz taught using the Socratic method, engaging directly with students in three-hour weekly seminars. Cai found herself constantly challenged to voice her opinions thoughtfully on controversial contemporary issues.
Overall, though, Cai says her experience at Princeton was shaped by the hardworking, inspiring students she encountered every day. “You’ll never find anyone who says, ‘I’m not doing anything,’” she says. “The entire school is made of people who are keen to use the resources that we’re given to make something out of their experience here.”