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    Small but Mighty

    Photo By Billie Suttles | 223rd Officer Basic Course student 1st Lt. Seneca Tsang pictured on the regimental...... read more read more



    Story by Jane Lee 

    The Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – “The most rewarding part of the job is helping people as well as showing young women that they too can do … and succeed in traditionally masculine careers,” said 1st Lt. Seneca Tsang. The firefighter who stands at just 5’4” and weighs a buck fifteen returned to Charlottesville to attend the 223rd Officer Basic Course at The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School.

    Tsang is no stranger to Charlottesville, having graduated from the University of Virginia in 2019, with a bachelor’s degree in both Cognitive Neuroscience and Foreign Affairs … and the Batten School of Leadership the following year with a Master of Public Policy. “I loved the connection between policy and human relations. That translated perfectly into law enforcement and national security,” said Tsang. “Which is why I applied to be an intern in the intelligence community. I spent five years rotating between field offices and the Office of the General Counsel. I saw the interplay between law and policy, which piqued my interest in law school and the JAG Corps.”

    Born in Chesapeake, Virginia to first generation immigrants from Taiwan and Hong Kong, Tsang helped her parents navigate life in a country vastly different from where they grew up. “Mandarin Chinese was my first language and as I learned English in school, I would help my parents translate,” said Tsang. “As such, helping others grow and develop has become a pillar for how I want to live my life.”

    To that end while juggling courses for a double major at UVa, Tsang trained for six months to join the Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Department. Operating out of Albemarle County Station 8, which holds the distinction of being the county’s busiest fire station, Tsang worked an overnight shift one day a week and a 48-hour shift every 5th weekend. Her station is a unique blend of volunteers like herself at night and career firefighters during the day, all committed to serving their community.

    Tsang started with the basic certification, but quickly added hazmat operations, EMT (emergency medical technician) and technical rescues among other qualifications. “I definitely prefer firefighting over EMS (emergency medical services) because of the adrenaline rush that comes with firefighting and the constant challenge of entering an uncertain environment and being able to successfully address a situation,” said Tsang. “I also love teaching the new firefighters as they come in and watching them grow in confidence.

    “My size sometimes poses challenges, but it also comes in handy in confined spaces when you might need to extricate yourself in an emergency. The rest just takes some practice in finding a technique that works for me. Usually with the help of some creativity, physics and exercise, an efficient method can be found.”

    Service to others must run in the family. Tsang’s older brother is studying to be a doctor at Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine in North Carolina.

    In her spare time the self-proclaimed huge bookworm indulges in fantasy fiction and learning new languages. In addition to Mandarin Chinese, Tsang studied Latin in high school and college and is conversant in German, thanks to a summer study abroad program. Tsang also dabbles in woodworking. “I really just love building things from scratch and seeing it all come together.”

    After graduation in a couple of weeks, Tsang is headed to the 82nd Airborne at Fort Liberty … just a stone’s throw away from where her brother is in his second year of medical school. “I grew up riding horses, love being outside hiking and sleeping under the stars. I’ve lived in Virginia my whole life, but I’m excited to check out all that North Carolina has to offer!”



    Date Taken: 05.03.2024
    Date Posted: 05.02.2024 14:09
    Story ID: 470034

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