Born and raised in Beijing, I grew up on a university campus where I spent a good amount of my childhood sneaking in and out of lecture halls. This early exposure has drawn me naturally to academia yet in ways I only become aware of much later in life.
Aspired to become a journalist someday in my teenage years, I went to Shanghai to pursue my bachelor's degree at one of China's best journalism schools. After a few internships into the profession hustling as a business reporter, I soon realized that I knew far too little about the complexities of the world to be able to depict them objectively. That awareness prompted me to embark on a journey across the Pacific to pursue my graduate degree in public policy, which I then turned into a career in international development. My career as a young professional in Washington D.C. area provided me with a glimpse of the world in profound ways. More importantly, it led me to evidence-based research as an alternative lens to change the world, which can be as powerful as the "fourth estate".
Besides dabbling in research, I lived the dream as a professionally trained pianist from the age of six. While in the D.C. area, I have been fortunate to perform, jam, and make friends with musicians around the world through initiatives such as Classical Revolution and Tango Mercurio. While obtaining my doctoral degree at Cornell, I was a student of Xak Bjerken, and I perform regularly as a pianist in ensembles. Here is a selection of my recitals: