"Indonesia is a very poor country and healthcare is something people need improved. There were very few programs in place to help the less fortunate and one group in particular that was overlooked were people with disabilities. I looked around me and there was only one school in Indonesia for people with Down syndrome or autism and it was this mom who started this school because her son has autism and she wanted him to get an education. When I was in high school, my best friend and I started a school club that held art and sport activities for the school with special needs. A few months later, the Best Buddies organization wanted to come to Indonesia too and they needed someone to work with them and expand. It started with one club in our school and expanded to other schools across the country. It’s been really cool to watch the organization expand. I left to study in America but sometimes I still look back and see what started as a small club, grow into an organization, and expanded into other clubs across the country. Since Best Buddies was new to Indonesia, we started off without any funding. My friends and I made these bracelets that said “Standards Don’t Define Me” and that’s how we raised money. Towards the end we ended up connecting them to Rotary Club International to fund them. It was really fun to watch them begin to have external funding and it made me feel really hopeful.

My dream ambition is kind of optimistic. When I came to the US, I decided because there are so many community organizations here that maybe I can go beyond the community service and advocacy and go towards chemistry and medicinal discoveries to help people instead. I really want to make a big enough impact for healthcare that, because I [was the one that] made it, I can make it cheap and affordable for other countries. Whether it's a medical device or a natural drug or even something for agriculture, I still don’t know what it is, but I want to make it useful and helpful and I want to make it very accessible." - Gillian Su