Ampai Thammachack: Canada’s Student of the Week

This week, we’re celebrating Ampai Thammachack as Canada’s Student of the Week.

Ampai is a dancer, mental health advocate, and second-year kinesiology student at Queen’s University.

CampusRankings caught up with Ampai to find out what inspires her work, and how she spends her day-to-day.

If you could have dinner with anybody in the world, alive or dead, who would it be?

Harriet Tubman because she embodies bravery, resilience and represents everything I want to be.

If we had to describe you in a tweet (140 characters), what would it look like?

I am a second year Kinesiology student at Queen’s University who loves dance, chocolate molten lava cake, and Beyonce. I just want to make awesome things happen.

Favourite app?

YouTube! So I can watch Millennium dance videos and Gordon Ramsay.

What’s been a major challenge that you have overcome?

For a very long time, I watched someone I love dearly suffer with debilitating mental health issues. It broke my heart watching this individual work so hard to try to love and make life happen for so many others while struggling so hard on the inside. This individual made miracles happen in times where no one thought there was any light. We wanted to help but did not know how to do so effectively without hurting ourselves. This experience made me understand the intricacies of mental heath from a very personal standpoint. It also showed me how much we as a nation need to encourage individuals to reach out for help in times of need.

This is why I founded the Step Above Stigma Charity! We sell socks that say Step Above Stigma on the sole with the semi colon symbol with the heart on the leg. Our hope is to raise $1,000,000 for mental health initiatives that will encourage others to reach for help while advocating for mental health awareness.

Favourite mentor at school?

My favourite mentor at school is Dr. Singh! She was my first year physics professor at Queen’s. She inspired and continues to inspire me to embrace my uniqueness and bring excitement, love, passion, and sparkle to my work no matter how heavy or daunting it may seem.

Favourite subject at school?

I LOVE anatomy because I think the mechanisms that comprise the human body are fascinating. The class taught by Doctor Ronald Easteal, one of my favourite professors, who presents a wonderful challenge and some great jokes. One of my favourite things is the constant hands on opportunities with real specimens in the Queen’s Biomedical and Molecular Sciences lab!

What’s a life lesson most people should know?

Never be afraid to give ALL OF YOU into what you do. Regardless if there is a prospect for failure. ALWAYS GIVE EVERYTHING YOU’VE GOT! DO NOT BE AFRAID TO FALL. If you do, always know that everything happens for a reason. Turn all the negatives in your life into positives and know that life is what you make it.

Make your own luck, make your own opportunities, get yourself out there. The world is yours for the taking. Take the things that scare you and make them into the things that propel you and make you unique. Love yourself, appreciate EVERYTHING you have, good and bad. Every – single – day.

Your time is precious in life, do something that makes you happy.

What is one thing you think you’ll never be done learning?

Learning how to love! I am constantly learning how to ensure my friends and family always feel cared for and respected. I always try my best to learn from my mistakes so that I can be a better person for those in my life who treat me so well. I have learned that love is a very individualized thing, and that the more love you give, and the more positivity you can spread, the brighter everyones world will be.

Most important thing in a friendship?

I love being comfortable enough with a friend to shred them and have them get me right back. But more than that I love the mutual trust, love and support I have with my closest friends. My closest friends are the ones I can share ANYTHING with and know that they will just care, and love me through whatever it is.

What’s on your plate right now, community involvement-wise?

. President and Founder of the Step Above Stigma Charity
. Founder of the Glass Slipper Organization
. Captain of the Afro Caribbean Dance Team
. Logistics Lead for jack.org
. Professional Dancer
. Volunteer at the Cardio and Pulmonary Health in Motion Program
. PHEKIN Coach
. Individualized care for those with special needs (Respite Worker)
. I LIVE TO COOK
. Sewing, creating and designing clothes
. Drawing and Art (inspired by my amazing mom)
. Electric Guitar
. Piano

Why do you do it all?

When I was about 12 years me and my family lost everything we had. However, my community always loved and supported me through EVERYTHING. There was never a second where I felt like I could not achieve my dreams despite what happened. With the Glass Slipper Organization and Step Above Stigma in particular, I wanted to create something that has the power make others feel loved and supported by their communities just like I did. I hope that we can reach as many individuals as possible to make sure they know that they’re never alone and that reaching out for help is one of the most important things you can do.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

My father is an immigrant and was a refugee of the Vietnam War. Being his daughter has taught me the emotional side of the needs of those in third world countries. My dream in 5 years is to volunteer or work with doctors without borders in places that need care most. A romantic engagement at this time wouldn’t hurt either.

What’s a favourite memory you have from your extracurriculars?

Going on the Cambodia Service Trip this summer! It was amazing to see our fundraising efforts in action and be able to actually go to the village and meet the people we are helping. It was an incredibly humbling experience to see the reality of our world and make a difference on a global scale.

What’s a life-saving life hack you love?

Always keep a detailed schedule of your life plans at least 6 months in advance. My agenda is one of my most prized possessions! I’d rather lose my house keys than my agenda! Take everyday one at a time. But simultaneously PLAN AHEAD. Also treat yourself. Red velvet cake is key.

Two things most people don’t know about you?

My favourite bands are Led Zeppelin and Queen, my favourite pair of shoes is secretly my crocs, and I bow to a poster of Beyonce on my wall almost everyday

Want to send a shoutout to anybody while you’re here?

My favourite person in the world! My little brother, and BEST PERSON I KNOW! SOUNTHON THAMMACHACK; my amazing vice president of Step Above Stigma, Aly Bonner, I wouldn’t be able to do ANYTHING without your genius, love and hard work; my close friend Krista Beeler who has coached me through some of the hardest times in my life and has made me a better person; All my coaches, professors, and teachers who always made me feel limitless; my CRAZY AND FANTASTIC FACULTY, PHEKIN, and MY UNREAL PARENTS who have always encouraged me through everything I have ever done, and have always put me first.

P.S. If you’d like to be nominated for Student of the Week, please sign up to CampusRankings and create a profile — our mission is to recognize young people doing great things in their school, community, or otherwise.
Dana Iskoldski

Dana Iskoldski

Dana Iskoldski is the Editor-At-Large at Student Life Network and CampusRankings.