Frequently Asked Questions
An English major?
In an interview for a campus tour guide job, someone asked me to defend my major because parents would inevitably ask about it. I said something along the lines of the importance of stories and how stories give us access to other experiences of the world, and of others, and how that helps creates empathy. And all of that's true, but I also majored in English writing because I've always loved writing, and no one could stop me from dedicating my time and energy to the craft if it was one of my majors.
Are all of your responses going to be that long?
So you're a writer, huh? What have you published? What do you write about?
That's a lot of questions all at once. Publication isn't the only marker of a writer, but you can find my writing in The Offing, Jellyfish Review, Three Rivers Review, The Review Review, Collision Literary Magazine, The Pitt News, and Pittsburgh Magazine. Here are some links!
What I write about changes as I do, but the touchstones tend to be home, particularly leaving or being forced to leave a home, and familial relationships. Adoption is a common topic in my writing, and ghosts often make appearances.
Wait, a while back you said "majors." What else are you majoring in?
In addition to a BA in English writing, I also received a Bachelor of Philosophy in communication rhetoric and a minor in Chinese.
Why those other things?
I started studying communication rhetoric because I thought I might become a speech writer someday. That day may still arrive, just not at the time initially expected, but while taking the core courses for the major, rhetoric caught my attention. I focused my upper-level courses in rhetoric, and I developed a research project grounded in constitutive rhetoric that would eventually become my thesis for the Bachelor of Philosophy. The minor in Chinese came about after studying abroad in Shanghai in 2017. I realized how much I wanted to learn about where I was from, and learning the primary language seemed like a good place to start.
Research project? Also what's a Bachelor of Philosophy?
Yes, research project! In April 2019, I successfully defended my thesis, "Triple Nothings: Racial Identity Formation in Chinese-American Adoptees." You can read it here! I focus on how adoptees narrativize and understand their own experiences with racial identity formation, and I critique and analyze the frameworks used as well as the influences of parents and non-adopted Chinese and Asian people on those frameworks. As a Chinese-American adoptee, the project has been challenging emotionally and intellectually, but I find identity formation an interesting and important topic, especially today, and I hope to contribute meaningfully to the conversation.
The Bachelor of Philosophy is a program at Pitt that allows undergraduates to work with faculty to produce and defend a master's-level thesis. There's more information about it on Pitt's website here!
I thought you said your answers wouldn't be that long.
That's not a question?
What are your academic interests?
Aside from racial identity formation, I'm interested in power structures and how they create and reproduce themselves. The flexibility and limitations of language also interest me, particularly moments where one language succeeds in articulating something where another fails. I also enjoy indulging in pop culture criticism and media studies, particularly for music videos, video games, and film.
What are your non-academic interests?
Some of these blend into my academic interests, but I'm teaching myself to play the piano and guitar, and I enjoy playing video games and watching movies. Crocheting, knitting, and baking are also stress relievers for me, and I try to learn at least one new stitch and recipe every year. I also enjoy running, although I've yet to experience a runner's high.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
That's a second date kind of question if you ask me. But since you're here, I see myself writing. Maybe I'll be in a coffee shop or at a library or at my desk in an office building—a lot is going to happen in the next 10 years that makes any kind of prediction difficult—but I know I'll be writing.
If I have another question for you, where can I ask it?
I have a Contact page set up for that! Feel free to drop me a line.