Laura Coffin ('13)

Laura Coffin ('13)

1. Please tell us a little about yourself!

I was born in Singapore, but spent the majority of my childhood in Seattle, Washington. At Wellesley I studied Economics and Chinese Studies, and enjoyed the opportunity to pursue both qualitative and quantitative coursework. I graduated in 2013, and have been living in New England ever since.

2. Why did you decide to become a Chinese Studies major? How did it shape your experience at Wellesley?

Because I attended preschool and elementary school in Singapore I began studying Mandarin Chinese from a young age. I knew that gaining a stronger grasp of the language would enable me to deepen my understanding of China's culture and economy, and I was excited to pursue this goal even before entering Wellesley. I particularly enjoyed the upper level language classes, where we discussed history and current events entirely in Chinese. Learning multiple skills at once in this way made my academic life deeper and more fun. The broader Wellesley community also played a role in my Chinese studies. The study abroad office helped me apply to a rigorous language-pledge program hosted by Minzu University in Beijing, and the Albright Institute for Global Affairs supported me in navigating a summer internship with a multinational communications consulting firm in Shanghai.

3. What are you doing now?

Since graduation I've worked in management consulting and program management. Most recently I worked at CVS Health, where I developed programs and services that make it easier for patients managing chronic conditions to take their medications as prescribed. I'm currently on a 3 month trip in Southeast Asia with my fiancé, where I've enjoyed spotting familiar themes in the art and iconography of each country. This fall I'll begin my MBA at Harvard Business School, which I hope will lead me to my next role in providing under-served patients with the healthcare they need.

4. How has your Wellesley experience and your major influenced your life/career after college?

Learning about Chinese language and culture while at Wellesley and abroad was very much formative for me. The process of delving deeply into all aspects of China gave me the ability to engage critically with diverse cultural and political landscapes, ask the right questions, and hone in on key commonalities or differences. Additionally, living abroad and expressing myself daily in a non-native language has expanded my comfort zone in remarkable ways. Friends and coworkers regularly remark on my confidence when diving into new situations. This is not a quality I ever thought I'd be known for, back when I was an introverted high school student!