I majored in East Asian studies and have traveled all around Asia for school, work, and fun.

Maddy’s passion for adventure and learning has deep roots in a close family that shared and encouraged those values.


My grandfather was the chief of NASA’s Biomedical Research Division, but he put importance on character over prestige. He believed strongly in the principle of “we are one,” and encouraged me to study languages and travel as much as possible.


After Korean lessons, I would come home and talk about all the different snacks we should make. My kind and supportive mom would take me to Korean grocery stores in Oakland so we could try our best to make Korean cuisine.

What were you like as a kid?

I loved to make up songs, particularly about my favorite foods — potstickers and ciabatta bread. My family called these songs my “jingles.” I also had a toy microphone that I used to perform famous songs; my favorite at the time was “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles.

So you were very musical.

Or just loud! My sister, best friend, and I formed a band and used our not-so-beautiful voices to perform our original songs for our parents. Later, I sang in a choir for many years, played the clarinet, bassoon, and piano, and studied at Oberlin College. I didn’t major in musical performance, but was surrounded by incredible music and performers, which was very rewarding.

Name a formative experience from your childhood that has made you who you are today.

When I was eight years old, I started studying Korean. My best friend was Korean American and attended Korean school every Saturday. I was very jealous and wanted to go with her. Her mom, a teacher at the school, kindly offered to give me private lessons instead. Through our weekly lessons, I was also able to learn about Korean culture, which is my favorite part of learning a language.

Wow! Are you fluent?

I only kept up with Korean lessons for a few years, but my curiosity to learn about new cultures has stayed with me. I majored in East Asian Studies in college and have traveled around Asia. I continue to seek out new experiences and learn about different cultures whenever possible.

What's the last book you read?

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. Although we’re often taught to become more specialized as the world gets more competitive, the book makes a compelling case that accumulating experiences in different domains is actually very beneficial in the long run.

What are some early work experiences that you’ll never forget?

One of my first jobs was working as a retail sales associate. I often dealt with customers who were furiously yelling at me to find their size and leaving clothes in a pile on the ground in the dressing room. I learned how to stay patient and focus on getting the job done instead of worrying about people’s bad attitudes.

Nothing that a little rendition of “Here Comes the Sun” couldn’t fix, right?

Ha ha, I think that would have made them even madder!

It’s refreshing to think that accumulating experiences in different domains is actually very beneficial in the long run.

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