1. Please tell us a little about yourself!
I was born and raised in Washington, DC. My father emigrated from Yunnan, my mother from Taiwan, and they met in the U.S. in 1958. While Chinese was my first language, I stopped speaking it when I started school, mainly so that I would not be "different" from the other children. (My father, by the way, opened one of the first Chinese restaurants in DC, but that's another story!).
2. Why did you decide to become a Chinese Studies major? How did it shape your experience at Wellesley?
At Wellesley, I was among the first group of Wellesley students to study in the PRC at Fudan University in Shanghai from 1980-81. My classmate, Sandra Horbach (Class of 1982), and Leslie Peyton (Class of 1981), were the other ones. The person who made the greatest impact on me while I was at Wellesley was my professor and mentor, Helen Lin. I hope that current students know of Professor Lin, who essentially created the Chinese Dept. and made it into one of the finest programs in higher education. Professor Lin hired me to be the Chinese Dept. Teaching Assistant for 2 years after graduation. That experience motivated me to pursue graduate studies in Chinese, hence my move to CA to enroll in the East Asian Studies Master's program at Stanford.
3. What are you doing now?
I found that academia was not my cup of tea, but while there I did an internship at the China Project, which was part of the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE). I worked on developing curriculum for grades K-12 and fell in love with education. I then obtained a teaching credential at San Jose State University and taught English as a Second Language before becoming a stay-at-home mom. While raising my children, I was active in their schools and eventually became trained to teach parent education, focusing on the toddler/preschool years. I returned to graduate school in my late 40's and became a speech language pathologist. I had long since given up my Chinese studies, and regretfully lost most of my skills, but I always retained a passion for teaching and communication. I now work in the Boston Public Schools, providing speech language therapy primarily to young children on the autism spectrum. I am ever so grateful to have found a career that is endlessly fascinating and so personally rewarding.
4. How has your Wellesley experience and your major influenced your life/career after college?
While my path has taken various turns and detours, in retrospect there is a common thread through it all, which is a love of teaching and a desire to be of service to others (and that certainly honors the motto of the College!). Professor Lin nurtured that in me as a young college student; she saw my potential and helped me to believe in myself. The department was like a family to me and I also fondly include Theresa Yao and Dr. Ruby Lam as my mentors. I know that the East Asian Dept. has greatly expanded since I graduated in 1982, but I do not doubt that the dedication of the teachers and the cultivation of both the intellectual and personal growth of the students remain as strong as ever.