For our March Member of the Month, we interviewed superstar member Ryan Szeto! Read on to learn more about him.

Tell us about yourself! It can be about anything – where you grew up, your professional background, your hobbies, etc.

Hello, Ryan here. I was born and raised in the melting pot of Queens, NY. I went to study 2D Traditional Animation at the School of Visual Arts (check out my thesis film here). By day, I am a Solution Business Analyst at Toll Global Forwarding, and at night, I might be freelancing on the side.

This weekend, I just came back from a week-long getaway to Tucson, Arizona. I stayed near the Catalina State Park, and hiked several trails in Saguaro National Park West and East. I also drove up Mt. Lemmon, and hiked the last 3 miles up in 9,000 feet elevation for some breathtaking views (lol). I do like hiking, and the photography that goes hand in hand with it. I used to frequent Brooklyn Boulders in LIC, until I injured my wrist, but I plan on going back this year.

On another spectrum, I frequently participate in Magic the Gathering pre-releases with my friends. I also occasionally play board games at several friend’s abodes (last fun board game, Suburbia). Last year at Anime NYC, I cosplayed for the first time and was Shotoro Kaneda from Akira, with red leather pants/jacket sans gun. I hope to get more involved with cosplaying in the future. My favorite author is Brandon Sanderson; go check out his Stormlight Archive book series.

Ryan at Anime NYC

Why did you join TAP? What are your favorite events?

When your friends are getting married left and right, having babies, moving away, it does leave a void in your life. My first event with TAP was the TAPpy Flower Hour at Ms. Yoo last year. It gave me a good excuse to dress up, get my drink on, and meet new people. From there, I was hooked and decided to join a few more events like TAP Olympics (I’ll have my revenge at Chubby Bunny!), which was a whole lot of fun.

I do generally like low key, small groups to get to know people better, like the dinner series I’ve attended last year in September with Kristie and Jordan @ 886. Volunteering was always something I wanted to get involved with, so I very much appreciate the events that offer such opportunities. One that comes to mind is last year’s November NYC Cares painting murals and scraping paint off fences @ PS 002.

NY Cares Day
The team behind the mural from NY Care Day! L to R: Grace, Emily, Jennifer (not in photo), and I.

Tell us something cool that happened to you this past year.

Last year, I took my first solo trip to Portugal for 2 weeks, and decided I wanted to drive internationally as well. From talking with strangers of all circles of life, driving to 7 cities, and visiting 6 others. Towards my last leg of my trip in Guimaraes, after almost being rejected service at a local restaurant, I was able to get a meal from conversing with the owner with Google translate. I learned that there are no boundaries if you set your mind to it, and are persistent.

If we wanted to hang out, where would we find you?

You’ll find me eating dim sum in Flushing, slurping boba or eating some street skewers. When in the city, I’ll be checking out museums (I recommend the Rubin Museum) and eating anywhere below midtown, down to the LES. I do fancy craft beers, and well-made cocktails (Amor y Amargo is on my rotating list). I can also be found in dive bars in Brooklyn, supporting my friends band, Party Dark.

This month, you will probably see me lining up for some Japanese fluffy pancakes at Taiyaki NYC.

What’s your advice for newer members who want to get more involved?

If you’re introverted, joining a smaller scale event like the Dinner series will get you started quite well. Talking with the board members and making a friend or two is a great catalyst for joining upcoming events with them. From there, they can introduce you to more people and it won’t be too awkward.

I remember talking to someone at the event Crushing the Myth, who was interested in TAP. She was on the fence because she was not Taiwanese, but I want to assure you that there is no such restriction in joining. If you have an interest in Taiwanese culture, you’re very welcome to come join us and learn what we’re about.