New York Botanical Garden Research

Vanessa was an Andrew W. Mellon Junior Fellow at the Humanities Institute of the New York Botanical Garden in Summer 2018. She researched how the societal perceptions of the apple, carnation, and dandelion changed over time. Her final presentation was titled Misinterpretations and Meanings of the Apple, Carnation, and Dandelion and Their Portrayals in Our Culture. She also created an exhibit of various texts and artworks from the LuEsther Mertz Library collections that contributed to her work.


Vanessa Sun is a green belt in taekwondo. She trained at International Martial Arts Center in New York City.

National History Day

Vanessa Sun is an alum of National History Day, having competed for three years in high school. Her first project was a senior individual performance about Bobby Fischer, a famous American world chess champion, where she earned 2nd place at Long Island History Day and 3rd place at New York State History Day, as well as special awards. Her junior year project, with Jane Chen, was a senior group website about Aung San Suu Kyi. She placed 3rd at Long Island History day and 3rd at New York State History Day, and also won special awards. Her last project, a senior group website completed with Alan Chen and Rachel Kim about the Freedmen’s Bureau, won 1st at Long Island History Day, 1st at New York State History Day, and 9th at National History Day. The team also won special awards at all levels, including the best Equality in History project at National History Day. She now enjoys judging websites for Long Island History Day, which she has done for 3 years.