Before my PhD, I completed my Bachelor’s of Science at the same school, studying Psychology and graduating in three years from UCSD. After college, I went back to Taiwan to work in marketing and PR in the international luxury hotel business.

While I was working in Taiwan, I became really interested in the “office lady” (OL) identity, a term which originates from Japan and is used to describe “pink-collar” jobs. In my mind at the time, all OLs do is just engage in some complex workplace romance, do some paperwork, and return home everyday at 5pm to crack open a can of beer with a loud sigh of satisfaction, even though they only handle light administrative work. I wanted to conduct my own research about this very gendered identity that was so common in East Asia. I applied to a Master’s program at Waseda University in Japan, and lived and worked in Tokyo for two years on this topic.

While I was writing my Master’s thesis, I met a lot of kikokushijo in Japan who really inspired me to think about how culture, race, and gender influences our own education and careers. I myself was born in California to Taiwanese parents, and lived and worked in different countries. Coming back to UCSD is a way for me to know and help other students like me, who come from multicultural, immigrant backgrounds and have struggled to navigate their own ideas for the future.