My Story (So Far. . .According To Me)

My mother taught me to read when I was five by leaving me instructional notes around the house before going to work everyday.

"Your breakfast is in the rice cooker. [Insert: hand drawing of the rice cooker] After breakfast, you may do the craft activity on the table until [Insert: hand drawing of the clock]."

My mother knew then the importance of designing a learning environment with interactives and proper graphic interpretation. My parents, both elementary school teachers in Taiwan, encouraged me to wander and explore on my own. I was never sent to a preschool or a kindergarten, but I was allowed to climb trees and play in the dirt. There's a lot to be said for climbing trees and playing in the dirt.

My family immigrated to the US when I was a teenager. I found myself a 9th grader in a public school in the suburbs of Charleston, South Carolina. I had just learned about Michael Jackson and Madonna and the Muppets. I had about 25 words of English vocabulary. Despite my cultural shock and lack of English language skills, I excelled in math and science. Three and a half years later, I was a chemical engineering major at Vanderbilt University.

Chemical engineering honed my logic mind. I felt accomplished; I was contributing in solving society's problems. I interned at a paper mill in Mississippi and at an oil refinery in Illinois. After receiving my Bachelor's degree, I accepted a job near Houston, Texas, working at a chemical plant. Within two years I was promoted from process engineer to production engineer to production supervisor. I was managing chemicals by the thousand tons. But after five years of working at a chemical plant, I realized that my heart was elsewhere. I decided to pursuit art and design instead. A friend said to me, "You are the only person I know who is going back to school so that you could make less money."

The subsequent years were my own personal renaissance. I studied interior design, environmental design, interior architecture, and exhibition design from Houston, Texas, to Florence, Italy, to Copenhagen, Denmark, to Brooklyn, New York. Prior to graduating from Pratt Institute, I assisted in designs of retail stores, showrooms and commercial exhibitions. My Master graduate thesis was published in the IIDA's Perspective Magazine and won the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) Student Design Award in 2002. I designed and renovated a number of private residences in Manhattan.

I started my exhibition design career at Liberty Science Center in 2003. In the science center's $109 million expansion and renewal project, I designed, developed and managed the final installation of three themed exhibitions, in areas ranging from 2,500 to 7,500 square feet. My projects were featured in numerous publications including the New York Times and the SEGDdesign Magazine, and many vendors/collaborators used the photos of my galleries to showcase their contribution to the LSC expansion.

Often in my travels, I encounter deeply moving experiences of paths variegated and rich with pauses, turns, uphill climbs, respites, inspiring vistas, unexpected shadows and lights, and moments of reflection and sublime clarity. I am fortunate that my personal and professional journeys so far have been paths that wander.