Splash Biography

ERIC XIAO, Yale sophomore majoring in Political Science

Major: Political Science

College/Employer: Yale

Year of Graduation: 2016

Picture of Eric Xiao

Brief Biographical Sketch:

I'm a pre-med student, I love fried chicken and stuffed animals - I enjoy talking about the last two topics but not the first. If I lived near a beautiful beach, I would take long walks on it at dusk everyday. But unfortunately, I live in Cleveland, Ohio, where bodies of water are so polluted that they catch fire. I am also a political science major but refuse to enter the political arena unless I can become corrupt and spend all of the country's money on constructing new KFC and Popeye's restaurants around the world.

For Splash and Sprout, I usually teach classes on popular music though I listen to all genres of music. I secretly want to be best friends with Ke$ha - don't judge me. This semester, I am adding a new class titled "Strange Foods", inspired by my obsession with the Food Network and the Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern" (Zimmern is another one of my heroes).

Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

S1916: The Future of American Health Care in Splash Spring 16 (Apr. 02, 2016)
The United States spends more on health care than any other country in the world does. Increasing costs of care raise a host of questions surrounding our health system. But much of this uncertainty stems from one harsh fact: most people have no idea how the health care system works or what it will look like in the future. This course will explain how health care in the United States actually works and how the various players involved are evolving as we speak. A great way to learn about an issue that is (literally) a matter of life and death!

X1918: Introduction to Political Science in Splash Spring 16 (Apr. 02, 2016)
Does having a Democratic government make you richer? Is the Food and Drug Administration feeding us poisonous substances? What is so special about Lebanon's army? Questions like these fill the minds of the world's most influential decision makers everyday, because these are the questions that decide the course of history. At its core, Political Science is the study of how people interact in a world where the forces of ambition, altruism, pragmatism, and greed collide on a daily basis. How can we accurately analyze the big issues of today, and what does that tell us about, well, ourselves? Take this course and find out!

X1920: Problems with American Politics in Splash Spring 16 (Apr. 02, 2016)
The phrase "the American political system is broken" is probably spoken a million times a day. But why is our democracy broken, and how has it failed us? Hint: it's mostly our own fault. This class will explore how the founding fathers, the American people, and the modern day politicians, are all to blame for why our particular brand of representative government is becoming more ineffective by the day. Learn about how some of the basic U.S. history facts that we have all learned are actually the main reasons why American politics has become a cesspool of inefficiency, inactivity and discrimination.

X1477: The Next American President in the Modern Political Environment in Splash Spring 15 (Apr. 04, 2015)
In a sense, the question of who will be the next President of the United States is one of the most important questions of the next few years. But in another sense, the answer to this question does not matter as much as we may expect. This class will highlight the political environment of the world today and show that while our next president will help shape the course of history as we know it, he or she will also be constrained by his or her surroundings. This president will inherit a nation with deep-seated social problems, an almost hopelessly divided government, and a number of strong global powers in the Eastern hemisphere who are looking to exert their own style of rule over the world. What sort of environment is our next President stepping into? And how can the candidates of the 2016 elections convince the American people that they are up to the challenge of governing in an increasingly uncontrollable world?

S1478: Political Science in Today’s World in Splash Spring 15 (Apr. 04, 2015)
The most important questions in today’s world are political questions, even when they don't appear to be. For example, the question of "what cures cancer?" is biological, but the more impactful questions of "how much would it cost for cancer patients to receive this cure?" and "should we withhold such treatment from people of other countries, in order to protect America's global power?" are political. These questions involve a great deal of money, time, and effort. So how do we answer questions like these? And how do we convince people that our answers are right? These are the challenges that political scientists must face. This class will look at how people have tried to answer these tough, but important, questions. By the end, you will have walked away with a better sense of how we describe the political world around us in understandable and persuasive ways.

F1101: Why Bad Things Happen: A Survey of Not-So-Happy American History in Sprout Summer 2014 (Jul. 12 - Aug. 02, 2014)
There have been many events in our history that have made people happy, such as the invention of the waffle-maker or the release of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' album. But sadly, not everything that has ever happened in this country is smiley-face-worthy. This class takes you on a journey through some unfortunate events and periods that have taken place throughout the history of the United States. Together, we will explore the origins of American History's most important (and most lamentable) happenings - everything from the Civil War to the death of John Lennon will be covered.

X982: Strange Foods from Around the World in Splash Spring 14 (Mar. 29, 2014)
A culinary tour across the globe, covering all continents and countless cultures. Learn about what people in other countries eat on a daily basis, who is the most skilled at cooking these foods, and many more interesting facts. How do fried pickles compare to Vietnamese snake wine? Are you more willing to try fried grasshoppers or fermented shark meat? Find out by taking this class!

T877: What is Love (in Popular Music)? in Sprout Spring 14 (Feb. 15 - Mar. 01, 2014)
A look at how the topic of "love" has been portrayed and defined in mainstream music from the past few decades. This class will explore how our tastes and preferences, as listeners of popular music, have changed over time and how that change is reflected in the progression of recent music history. Have we abandoned candlelit evenings by the fire in favor of nightclubs? Is Ke$ha the new Whitney Houston? These and more interesting, profound, and hilarious questions await us in this class!

T879: Fight the Power: Protest Music in recent American History in Sprout Spring 14 (Feb. 15 - Mar. 01, 2014)
From the Sons of Liberty dumping tea into Boston Harbor to Nas releasing a diss record against Fox News, Americans are no strangers to acts of protest. Its music industry is certainly no exception. This class will explore how our nation's music artists have found countless ways to speak out against nearly everything - government power, racism, strict parents, you name it. We'll talk about some songs from the past few decades that have resonated most deeply with this spirit.

T545: American Pop Music: 1980 to the Present in Sprout Fall 13 (Oct. 05 - 19, 2013)
The pop music genre has clearly changed quite a bit over the past few decades. The sounds we hear today were unimaginable years ago. And on top of that, the themes of modern pop have also changed dramatically. Artists today are using vastly different ways of exploring topics such as love, death, happiness, friendship, wealth, success etc. And they are achieving huge levels of success with it. So if pop music caters directly to the masses, what do these changes in pop music mean about our present and future as the American music audience? What do we like today that we did not like 20 years ago? Should we learn from Taylor Swift and write a song every time we break up with someone? Should we all ruin our teeth to look more like Trinidad James? We will explore these and many more interesting questions as we talk about the history of what we all know and love as pop music.

X289: American Pop Music from 1980 to the Present in Splash Spring 13 (Apr. 06, 2013)
Before the days of "Call Me Maybe," legends such as Michael Jackson, Journey, and Madonna ruled the charts and became known as the best pop artists of their time. Through the years, that crown has been passed through the hands of Biggie Smalls, Kelly Clarkson, and Lady Gaga. But despite their vastly different styles and personalities, these artists have all held the spotlight in the world of Pop. So how do we even define what pop music is? How has that definition changed through the years? Are Gangsta Rap and Punk Rock still viable genres for an aspiring "pop artist"? Is Katy Perry as iconic as Steve Perry? Will 2 Chainz ever be in the same league as 2Pac? Explore these and other fun, exciting questions as we examine most well-known songs and artists of the last few decades!