I'm a journalist-turned-aspiring schoolteacher who is a second-generation Chinese American, born to immigrants from Taipei, Taiwan, one of whom is a practicing physician who has worked for the Oakland, Calif.,-based Kaiser Permanente, the largest and most prestigious health maintenance organization in the United States, for some 34 years, and who has been an associate clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, one of America's top-15 medical schools, for decades.
I have a bachelor's degree in ethnic studies from the University of California, San Diego, ranked No. 14 in the world by a Shanghai consultancy group and home to more than a half-a-dozen Nobel Prize-winning scholars. I attended law school for one year at the University of Miami, which is rated as No. 50 out of 200 American Bar Association-approved law schools in the United States, according to a rating of faculty quality by U.S. News and World Report. And I took paralegal courses at the University of California, Los Angeles, which itself is ranked No. 13 in the world.
I worked for years as an award-winning journalist for some of the leading daily newspapers in California including the San Gabriel Valley Tribune and the Daily Pilot, uncovering wrongdoing by those in power. I won a California Library Association award for excellent coverage of libraries in Woodland, Calif., for the Daily Democrat. And I was trained by a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who has covered hard news for decades for some of the leading newspapers in the United States like the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Philadelphia Inquirer and The Wall Street Journal.
Now I'm preparing to study for a teacher's credential at the University of California, Irvine to become a certified high-school history teacher. I dream to spread justice and equality as an educator. The Irvine campus, which has produced several Nobel Prize-winning faculty in recent years, is ranked No. 46 in the world.
I read world-renowned publications such as the Economist and the New York Times, always in search of articles that showcase a fight for social justice and equality. I walk in luxurious suburban neighborhoods like Malibu, Calif., and Brentwood, Calif., and talk over dinner at critically acclaimed restaurants. My favorite eatery is Beverly Hills Spagos whose executive chef has won Michelin stars and whose owner, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, has catered to Academy Award parties.
I speak proficient Mandarin and have excellent communications skills, honed through years of intense reading and writing under the watchful eye of seasoned editors.
I've traveled the world to 16 countries, from the sand dunes of the Middle East to the bustling cities of Asia, from the cobblestone streets of Europe to the turquoise seas of Oceania, from the sharp peaks of North America to the beaches of Latin America. My favorite destination is mainland China, to which I've flown 12 times, visiting the eastern-seaboard cities of Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Wuxi, Nanjing, Beijing and Guangzhou, as well as the inland cities of Guangde, Guilin and Xian. I also love the global sophistication of Hong Kong and the worldliness of London.
Currently, the Department of Education at the University of California, Irvine is ranked No. 48 out of some 1,400 education schools in the United States, according to the U.S. News and World Report.
I'm passionate about fighting for social justice for my students and teaching them to write eloquently and persuasively -- a skill I learned as a law student and as a journalist. I also want my students to think critically by looking at how historical situations are influenced by socioeconomic conditions. In other words, I want my students to think dynamically at how history shapes and is shaped by surrounding socioeconomic and cultural forces.
Currently, many students are taught to just memorize facts as if they are isolated. There's nothing wrong with that in the traditional sense.
But if you want to produce innovative thinkers and creative types -- future Nobel Prize winners -- you have to teach them to think of history -- or whatever you are teaching -- as an artifact that is constantly changing based upon the circumstances. History is fluid.
I wasn't always a good writer. For years, I've struggled in high school to pull off Cs and Bs on essays. I scored a pathetic 1,140 on my SAT I out of a full score of 1,600, even after splurging more than $1,000 on tutoring from Princeton Review instructors. I even had a private English tutor in my senior year of high school.
But through sheer persistence that fueled my hunger to become a better writer and reader, I pored through books and newspapers for more than one decade. The result was I pried open the tightly sealed doors to a top-50 American law school to grab a seat for myself. And I strove for years to write for award-winning daily newspapers, whose editors often yelled at me and crushed my ego in the process.
Sometimes I went home crying. I felt at times I didn't want to be a journalist anymore. But I continued to write story after story, some of which made a societal impact by spurring legal and structural reform that fought corruption and inefficiency in the government -- the very reason why I pursued journalism in the first place. I never made much money as a journalist. In fact, according to the Department of Labor, salaries of journalists are about three times less than that of lawyers, my first career pursuit.
I initially pursued law because I once believed I could most effectively fight for social justice as a lawyer. That could be certainly the case for many people. And I didn't mind what I once believed to be the glamorous and rich lifestyle of an attorney.
But I got fed up with what I believe was the corporate nature of American law and with the impersonal persona of many lawyers. Consequently, I hated law school at the University of Miami more than anything else I've done. I was bombarded with hundreds of pages of law cases to read in my first year of law school. And final exams, which typically weighed 100 percent of a course's grade, were each a grueling five-hour experience. Which is why I jumped ship off of the platforms of law school to pursue a career in journalism.
Today, I don't regret my decision. I never learned more than in my years as a journalist. In fact, I learned more during my tenure in newspapers than in my years in college and in law school. I learned how people behaved and thought from conducting interviews with people from all walks of life -- from farmers to physicians, from dairymen to politicians, from teachers to police officers -- in addition to the craft of writing, which law school didn't teach too well.
Still, I can't discount the benefits I learned from law school at the University of Miami. I learned the subtle underpinnings of persuasive arguments, both in oral and written form. I learned how situations can't be seen in one side. Instead, they are typically in shades of gray. And I dove into the depths of legal analysis -- how there's a rationale to any given point.
As a result, all of my education not only helped me become a more in-depth and analytical journalist, but it will most likely help me become a better history teacher in high school.
As a former journalist, I love to read the New York Times, the world's most influential and best newspaper, according to experts. The Times has swept away 106 Pulitzer Prizes in its history, more than any other news-gathering organization on the planet. I love to read the Times not only for its hard-digging stories that expose wrongdoing by those in power, but also for its unrivaled poetic and fluid syntax.
Many Times journalists could have been executives, physicians and attorneys -- they could have made more money doing something else more lucrative. But they chose to pursue journalism for the public good.
3) Barnes and Nobles
6) The Economist
Before, I dreamed of achieving fame and glory as a journalist. I wanted to not only win prizes, in particular the Pulitzer Prize, but also to fight corruption through my stories.
Today, in the face of a plummeting economy that has taken a huge chunk of advertising revenue from most if not all American newspapers, I've chosen to pursue what many experts say will be a promising and growing career path -- education.
I envision not only reforming the school curriculum to champion more multiculturalism and critical analysis in what otherwise is littered with Eurocentricism and rote memorization, but also one day becoming a school board member, an elected position.