Meet Austin Baik ’11, president of the Association of Asian American Yale Alumni

In this Asian American and Pacific Islander Month Alumni Identity Spotlight, Baik reminds fellow Yalies of the wealth of resources available through the YAA, including shared interest groups, and shares how he first felt a sense of belonging on campus through shared conversations at mealtime. 

This feature is part of a series focused on amplifying the voices of alumni who are making an impact today and illuminating how the identities we bring to Yale transform both our community and the world. 

What is your most enduring memory of your time at Yale?

The time in the dining halls. I treasure the community that I was able to build during my time at Yale and those connections that were deeply forged over meals and conversations in the dining hall. That space is where the Yale community came together: classmates, faculty, administrators, staff. I reflect fondly on the time I spent with them, many of whom I consider a part of my extended family.

How has your identity shaped your Yale experience?

Austin Baik with cupcakesWhat an insightful question! I was born and raised in San Francisco to Korean American immigrants. While there were cultural nuances that I found challenging about the East Coast and at Yale, as the first person in my family to attend a four-year college in the United States, and being so far from home with little cultural baggage on what I “needed to be doing” at a place like Yale, I felt a profound sense of freedom to explore in my academics, in my extracurriculars, and in my personal relationships. My Yale experience was one of safety to personally, intellectually, and philosophically mature.

What is your hope for the future of the Yale alumni community?

As Yale alumni, I believe we have an extraordinary opportunity from a place of privilege to organize as a force for positive change. My hope is that alumni continue to stay engaged in efforts to better our immediate communities, the Yale community, and the world.

What advice would you give to fellow or future Yalies? 

Try all the things that you're curious about and don't fear not being excellent at it. I think one of the burdens of being a Yalie is that we are constantly surrounded by such talented and brilliant people that it's intimidating to try something new or something we know we aren't good at. It's OK to try something for fun and not be great at it but still really enjoy doing it and having a new experience.

Austin Baik is the President of the Association of Asian American Yale Alumni. A native San Franciscan, Austin has volunteered and worked in local politics, and has spent the majority of his professional experience in Silicon Valley. Currently, he works for Meta, where he manages enterprise engineering programs. Prior to Meta, Austin led client-facing teams in Asia-Pacific and North American markets for several open-source software companies.

You May Also Be Interested In