I'm Joey (Joanna).
I was born in 梅州 (Meizhou), China. My grandparents raised my cousin and I in the countryside. We used to have chickens and a watermelon patch. We spoke Hakka and my grandfather, a professional musician, taught me how to play the banjo and sing mountain songs. My grandparents took me hiking every weekend at 5am to visit a Buddhist temple, taught me how to swim by visiting a large lake near our house, and took me to school strapped to the back of a bicycle. We also ate amazing food: longan, grass jelly, tangyuan, and pomelo. I couldn't have asked for a more exciting childhood.
I moved to California at age 8. I started my first day of school not knowing any English except "Hot Lunch," but I picked it up quickly (within 6 months) when I realized the language barrier was impeding my ability to get good grades or fit into the fickle grace school social hierarchy. The first book I ever read fully in English was The Boxcar Children. I eventually earned the respect of my peers by getting good at math and at the most popular recess sports: four-square and the monkey bars. I'm sure trading in the ninja pants I used to wear in China for Limited Too bell bottoms helped too. Adapting to life to America and with my parents was my first Big Challenge in life.
I enrolled at Challenger, then at The Harker School. I was very lucky to receive the best education possible at both places. My first English professor, Dr. Cavanaugh, taught me how to write with conciseness and meaning behind every word. She gifted me some of my favorite books in life. Mr. Near, my AP US History and AP Government teacher, taught me to think critically about the cause/effect of key historical events and decisions, and to not take citizenship in a democracy lightly. And Ms. Mittelstet gave me clues on how to find happiness through understanding how other writers have struggled with the same question. I also became a mediocre artist in this time (portfolio) which culminated in a summer at the Rhode Island School of Design where I met other art friends, including the talented Stephanie Teo.
I started as a freshman at Stanford in 2007. I wrote my first article for The Stanford Daily in orientation week and worked there all four years of college; some of my best friends are from the Daily (including the very impressive Devin Banerjee). My parents wanted me to be pre-med, but I didn't want to study medicine so we settled for Economics which satisfied no one. I started taking a bunch of theoretical math classes on the side (because I love feeling like the dumbest person in a room) and wound up with a second major. I also started dabbling in graduate school classes and got away with an MS in Management Science & Engineering. My favorite classes at Stanford was Debt Markets, taught at the GSB by one of my favorite professors ever, Prof. Darrell Duffie.
I currently live in New York City where I'm a board member of Stanford Women's Network - NYC (filled with amazing women such as Sherice Torres, a bad ass mama - come check our events!) and an associate at Macquarie. I deeply believe in perseverance (no one is going to get me what I want except me), not being afraid of failure, gratitude, and generosity. My long-term goal is to build something that I can be proud of and make an army of friends along the way. I write about things that inspires me in Muse, what's on my mind at Blog, and put up my latest random projects at Projects. If you'd like to get in touch, you can find my contact information at the bottom of each page.