At the International School in Riyadh her classmates were from all over the world. This experience “opened up my views,” she reports, and caused me to be more curious about other people’s views and experiences. After two years in this diverse learning environment however, when Ming-Ming was ready for high school, her family moved to San Luis Obispo, California, USA, where there were “few people who looked like me” she notes, and most of my classmates “had known each other most of their lives.”
Her adjustment continued, as she learned English and Spanish at the same time in order to apply to universities, and chose to attend the University of California at San Diego, CA. Here she felt more comfortable, and more confidant. The student body was more racially diverse and the curriculum was challenging. At UC San Diego she completed her BS in Biology with a minor in Art, and five years later earned her doctor of pharmacy degree.
Ming-Ming has an unusual combination of strengths. She loves science and loves working directly with people. She combined these in her professional work as a pharmacist. Also, she loves art and fashion, and in 2015 completed a Certificate in Fashion at the University of Washington. She describes this point in her life as the time when she combined her compassion and passion. It is here that Ming-Ming’s creativity as a heart-felt leader becomes apparent.
Eight years ago she founded the Seattle Chapter of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance and was been president of this local chapter until May, 2019. In 2017 she founded the Refugee Artisan Initiative , non-profit which has grown from her passion “to help refugee and immigrant women in the United States build a better life for their families.” In describing each of these organizations, Ming-Ming stresses the role of a mentor who cared about her and supported her growth. She has led from her own passion, and utilized her own experience. This is how she describes it:
My concern for refugees began with my own experience. I was an immigrant from Taiwan myself 34 years ago. I was able to get an education , become a pharmacist, and give my kids a great life. As recent crises around the world have brought more refugees to our shores, I wanted to do something to give back and find a way to help these new arrivals achieve financial independence.
The essence of the work of RAI is training immigrant women in home based jewelry making and sewing custom items for its own and other companies under their brand (small batch sewing manufacturing.)