Q: How did you choose to attend William and Mary and how did you pick your major?
A: I knew William and Mary had a great academic reputation and it was an hour away from my family in Virginia Beach. I was an English and philosophy major. I always knew I wanted to study English. I didn’t have a background in philosophy, but I really fell in love with it and it complimented my English major.
Q: What have you been up to since graduation?
A: I went on to graduate school at Michigan for an English Ph.D. I graduated in 2005 and I’m now teaching Asian Studies and English at Bowdoin College.
Q: What did your ENF scholarship mean to you?
A: It was huge! It was my main scholarship and it allowed me to pay my way through undergraduate which was a huge relief for me and my family. It was very affirming and I appreciate the kind of philanthropy that allows students like me, who really would have struggled, to pursue my academic goals.
Q: What was your favorite memory from attending the Elks Convention?
A: It was in Chicago and my favorite memory was right when we got off the plane. We stepped out and we were expecting to be picked up in a four door sedan. There was a limo outside, but we looked past it. Then we realized the limo was for us! We didn’t expect the red carpet treatment but that was true throughout the whole Convention. Everyone was so warm and down to earth.
Q: What does being an Elks scholar mean to you?
A: I felt that my education was enabled by Elks National Foundation donors and that made me feel more responsible toward my own education.
Q: What advice do you have for other Elks scholars?
A: Take education seriously, it’s not something you should take for granted. Education is tremendously important in one’s life. I felt like if I didn’t win the Elks scholarship, I would have pursued a much more tactical path, but the scholarship allowed me to feel less of that financial burden and to pursue subjects that I was interested in—English and philosophy. Elks scholars are given the opportunity to pursue what they are interested in.
Q: What is an interesting fact about you that most people would find surprising or unexpected?
A: My first book is coming out this spring. It’s about the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989.