I am an investigative and magazine journalist based in the Pacific Northwest. My writing has appeared in The Billfold, The Daily Beast, Discover Magazine, Hakai Magazine, Harper's, JSTOR Daily, Matter, Nature, Nature Medicine, National Public Radio, Nautilus, The New Yorker, Public Radio International, Science, STAT News, The Open Notebook, Vice, Washington Post, among others. Although I've got my ears peeled for stories about science, human rights, and the environment, I'm generally interested in telling stories that don't quite get the attention they deserve. Preferably, these stories take place somewhere very difficult to get to.
In 2016, I received a grant through the Pulitzer Center to investigate Southeast Asia's palm oil industry. I was also selected as a fellow in Michael Pollan’s UC Berkeley-11th Hour Food and Farming Journalism Fellowship.
It's no surprise that I have a penchant for working with words. I was born in China, and according to my grandparents who took care of me when I was young, I was already memorizing Chinese poems by the time I was two and a half. Soon after I immigrated to America, I peed my pants during pre-school [just that one time] because I didn't know how to ask the teacher to use the restroom. As a result, my mom spoon-fed me books in English to accelerate the rate at which I would learn a new language so I wouldn't make the same mistake again. Her efforts have paid off, and importantly, instilled in me an appreciation for words — even if it took me many years to decide I'd, after all, become a journalist. In college, I studied biochemistry and graduated thinking I would become a cancer researcher. However, in 2014, after six years at the bench — including a two year stint in a PhD program — I retired my pipettes to become a journalist. I’ve described the leap from academia to journalism to Chronicle Vitae and in my own words.
When I’m not reporting or tinkering with words, I’m likely scaling walls, biking through the persistent Seattle drizzle, or somewhere in the world with very poor or non-existent cell phone reception. I also have a knack for booking one-way flights and ordering items like "fried squail" off the menu in foreign countries.