It all started when I was sitting at home during high school in Tianjin, China, devouring a worn-out copy of The Logic of American Politics that I got my hands on (its authors would sit on my dissertation committee a decade later). I started constantly imagining how the American political system weaved together disparate people and processes to make democracy work somehow, with fascinating twists and turns along the way. I spent hours day after day consuming a DVD collection of The West Wing that I borrowed from an exchange student, pausing and rewinding a hundred times every episode to look up the difficult words and political terms and to peruse the rapid dialogues.
Learning about American politics preoccupied my mind and became my mission. It drove me to figure out how to go to college in America from Chinese working-class means, starting with discovering the SATs. This journey took me to Tulane University in New Orleans, made possible only by a full-ride merit-based scholarship. Before stepping into the Big Easy, I had never left China. Throughout college and grad school, I have always felt a special appreciation for the American institutions that I study as well as my very ability to study them with rigor and sincerity.
I received a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from Tulane University (2014) and an M.A. (2016) and a Ph.D. (2021) in Political Science from the University of California San Diego. My research has been published or is forthcoming in the Presidential Studies Quarterly, the Political Research Quarterly, and Interest Groups & Advocacy.