Before embarking on my current trajectory, I was an intellectual property lawyer in Silicon Valley. After several years, disillusionment with corporate legal practice motivated me to engineer a career shift. I moved to China, where I first worked with NRDC's Beijing office and then collaborated with several grassroots environmental organizations.
For nearly two years, I volunteered at a Peking University field biology research station led by Pan Wenshi in the subtropical province of Guangxi, where I studied and advocated for the protection of two critically endangered species - the Chinese white dolphin and the white-headed langur.
In Guangxi, I realized that basing conservation efforts solely on nature's intrinsic value often comes up short. In most countries, economic development is a policy priority, and conservation advocates must speak in terms of quantifiable benefits to humanity if they wish to be heard. Thus, I became interested in ecosystem services and began to study the intersection of local livelihoods, sustainable agriculture, and wilderness conservation.
In fall of 2013, I enrolled in the Ph.D. program of UC-Berkeley's Environmental Science, Policy and Management department. I am now studying interactions among natural vegetation, strawberry crops, and strawberry pests and their natural enemies in California’s Central Coast.