• Route: Rockies
  • Ride Year: 2024

About: Hello! My name is Melanie Hsieh, and I am a junior studying Physics and Government. I'm also a Jefferson Scholar, pursuing a certificate in Core Texts and Ideas.

My current interest lies in the nexus of U.S.-China realtions and emerging technology, specifically AI governance. Previously, I was a research intern at the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations. On campus, I am a research analyst at the Innovation for Peace and Development and a Senior Fellow at Global Macro Team.

I am an avid hiker and reader. Favorite books Crime and Punishment, and Homo Deus.

I am very honored to be a part of the 2024 Texas 4000 team.

Why I Ride

Earlier this year, I read an article about Texas 4000. Immediately I wanted to be apart of it. Mainly because I wanted to join a program that can push my physical boundaries further, jump out of my comfort zone. However, deep down I know these motivation originates from my inner pride: to be seen as someone who has achieved something great — cycled 4000 miles to fight cancer. As I later attended the information session, I realized this mindset was incorrect, it shouldn’t be the core of my reason to ride but rather the mission it entails.

Growing up in Hong Kong, my personality is deeply influenced by my family, especially my grandpa. He is the most optimistic person I have ever met, and never fails to cheer me up during hard times. As a result, I like to be seen as someone who likes to laugh and always cheerful. To the point where I dislike showing any signs of "negative" emotions (wept, anger, saddness) because I do not want to be seens as weak. In particular, this one Chinese proverbs: "Keep your broken arm inside your sleeve." embodies how I felt back then -- hide your weakness, and everything is going to be fine.

Yet, after my grandmother passed away from Parkinson’s Disease, I felt a sense of hollowness inside my heart. As if a table without a leg is balancing itself on a beam of wire. I was determined to only cry when I was alone, and tell no one, not even close friends about it.

It was by accident that one day in church, a mentor asked how is your grandma doing. Uncontrollably, tears started to slide down my cheek, I did not and could not stop because memories of her face, her smile started to rush in. It was my first time ever crying in public. Yet, I didn't feel ashamed, rather comfort for having someone by my side to simply listen.

This memory of sharing pain and sorrow together is my reason to ride. Listen to others' stories and offer comfort just by being present.

I would like to accomplish an internal growth within me, together with other riders embrace different flavors of emotions, learn to accept and savor them, as that is who we are. On the other hand, I would also like to use myself as a funnel to bring hope to people back home in Hong Kong or other parts of China. Seeing many of my peers lose interest and motivation in life, I would like to tell them through writings and photos that there is so much more in the world that we can seek meaning in. Especially helping others and be less self-oriented.

Lastly, I would like to ride for my grandma, although she did not get cancer but Parkinson’s disease, I would like to ride in the spirit of her. I would also like to ride for people from my church back home and here at Austin who is fighting against cancer.