A True Leader, Andrew Chiang – What It Takes


Andrew Chiang guides his robotics team.

What does it take to be a leader? As Dr. Failor, Assistant Head of OHS, puts it, you have to find a balance. “In being a leader there is both a soft side, which consists of inclusiveness, empathy, and understanding, as well as a side that you must use to look for and sometimes create opportunities. You must also use this to achieve what is best for you and your team,” she says. Bravery is a notable characteristic when it comes to this previously indicated side of being a leader, as you sometimes have to step up and make difficult decisions. This is a hard balance to strike in the center, but for leaders who are truly successful, it becomes natural to figure out how to incorporate both of these sides in a way that shows true values.

 Andrew Chiang is one of the leaders in the community who has mastered this balance. As a senior at OHS, Captain of OHS FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics team, External Outreach Coordinator for the OHS Community Engagement Club, OHS Robotics Club leader, an Ethics Bowl participant, and the Science and Tech Editor for the OHS Observer, Andrew epitomizes a true leader.

Regarding his role as a leader, Andrew says, “What I really want to emphasize is contribution. So that everyone can feel and is feeling included.” 

Another characteristic Andrew adds to the table, as Dr. Beals says, is his passion for what he does. Andrew’s many passions include Biology, Biotechnology, Philosophy, Engineering, and Robotics. Biotechnology is the field he aims to continue in, and he loves engineering and robotics for the hands-on aspect, a learning format that Andrew highly appreciates. Along with these STEM subjects, he thoroughly enjoys philosophy and having substantial discussions. 

The opportunity to have long discussions with peers and teachers alike is one of the reasons he chose OHS. Dr. Failor tells us, as well as this, that“OHS really opened his eyes to the humanities, and you can think about how the humanities can influence and inform what we do in science and engineering, and kind of bring the two fields together,” said Dr. Failor. “So I think his passion still is with science and engineering, along with biology, but he’s now bringing that perspective of ethical choices and how it affects people and how to help people. So, he’s bringing all that to it as well, which is really cool.”

Andrew is likewise capable of making difficult decisions for his team when needed. The Robotics Team, with Andrew as Captain, had qualified for the regionals, which would take place at the end of March. This, of course, was a time where large gatherings were beginning to shut down in the Bay Area due to the coronavirus. But, despite this, the organizers of the regionals had made the decision to go on with the competition as usual. Andrew was now faced with a decision of his own. He had to make up his mind on whether or not to proceed with the team, risking their health and safety but moving a step closer to victory, or to withdraw from the competition, losing their chances, yet protecting his teammates, himself, and their families. Andrew eventually came to a conclusion on the matter, deciding it was best to drop out of the competition. This was an extremely hard move to make, and it reflected the side of being a leader that took bravery, courage, and intelligence, as well as the soft side, having concern for his team. 

Another huge piece of advice Andrew has to offer is to not be afraid. Don’t be afraid to say no. Don’t be afraid to take the lead. But he also has said to not overdo it. To be a good leader, you have to listen to everyone else and their thoughts. He illustrates this concept when he says, “As a leader, you are essentially the spine, the skeleton of the team. You are kind of there to direct the team.” 

In short, Andrew embodies the characteristics of a true leader and inspires the community with his incredible passions and abilities. Andrew believes that everyone can achieve what they wish, and he hopes that in being a good role model, he is inspiring others to rise to his heights alongside him.