• photo of Shiyan Cao
    Shiyan Cao

Member Spotlight: Shiyan Cao

Member Since: 2010
Membership Level: President's Circle Member
Chapter: East Coast
Job Title: Portfolio Manager

Tell us how you first got involved with the Caltech Associates and why supporting Caltech is important to you.

I was invited to an East Coast event in 2010 at the Lotus Club by Tom Luke, who became a mentor/friend in my early days in the financial industry. The event was very engaging, as it featured a Caltech professor who gave a talk on his research projects as well as updates of the institute. It also served as an intimate venue where New York area alumni got acquainted with each other.

Caltech holds a very special place in my life because I molded my critical thinking and creative approaches to problem solving during my 5 years of study at Caltech. Also, I got married at the Athenaeum :) Joel Burdick, who was my thesis advisor, also played a critical role not only in my thesis research, but also in giving me life advice. He is instrumental in my life and career and I want to give back to Caltech so that more students can enjoy and appreciate what I had the privilege to experience.

What do you wish other people knew about the Caltech Associates?

The Caltech Associates is an integral part of the Caltech community. Together with the Caltech Alumni Association, they help support campus life as well as form alumni networks. Also, a lot of the discretionary funding for the Institute comes from the generosity of Caltech Associates members.

What do you enjoy most about being a Caltech Associate?

I think the Caltech Associates offers a very intimate platform where members can stay in touch with the Institute as well as each other. Also I enjoy listening to the talks given by various Caltech professors, which is something I don't get to follow regularly in my current line of work.

Outside of your involvement of serving on the East Coast Committee and being a President's Circle member, what do you do?

I spend a lot of time reading and digesting economical and geopolitical news. On weekends I like to play with my eight year-old daughter. I just taught her to ride a bike.

What might we be surprised to know about you?

I don't come with a lot of surprises. I am surprisingly predictive, says my wife.

Do you have a favorite Caltech story or moment?

When I graduated from Caltech, Professor Burdick pulled me aside and said there are several things in life we try to balance: money, power, career, lifestyle, and family. Often one has to choose one while sacrificing the others. So I have to choose carefully at any given point of my life. I think it was a defining moment for me, and obviously I chose money (just kidding).

Closing sentiments?

I thoroughly enjoyed my five years at Caltech. I acquired knowledge and critical thinking, made life-long friends, and got married at the Athenaeum. The Caltech Associates is a good platform for me to stay in touch and give back to the Institute. It gives me a sense of connection with Pasadena, even though I live in New York now.