A Land of Opportunity: A Q&A with Joan Shen



Joan Shen






 When you take different paths, life ends differently


Q: Where did you come from and what was your life like there?

Joan Shen: I came from Shanghai, and was a college student there. I had a simple and happy life.


Q: When did you come to the U.S. and for what reason?

JS: I originally came to study in the U.S. for graduate school in 1989. I received my Ph.D. in biochemistry at Virginia Tech, then made the decision to stay in the U.S. I applied for a green card and settled down.

Q: How did you start out in the U.S.? Was it difficult?

JS: I started out as a foreign student. I began as a graduate student, so I didn’t have to begin a completely independent life. After school, it wasn’t too terribly difficult for me to begin a new life, because I put in effort. The U.S. is a land of opportunity, but that opportunity only belongs to people who are willing to try and work hard.

Q: Are there any particular experiences or memories about those early years in the U.S. that left an impression on you?

JS: All my experiences together made me learn that if you work hard, you will get places. So, no, there wasn’t anything specific that really left an impression on me, but coming to the U.S. and living my life here did change me. I’m thankful that I came to the U.S, though I also know that if I had decided to stay in China, I would probably still be happy. When people make decisions, those decisions don’t necessarily have to be clearly defined as “yes” or “no.”  When you take different paths, life ends differently. There’s no good or bad.

Shared by: Joan Shen

Written by: Gunn High School student Miranda Shum

Edited by: Shawna Chen


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