Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Immigrants Need to Join Society

Retired NASA Chemist, Winifred Huo, was born in Guangzhou, China two weeks before the start of the Sino-Japanese war.  She recalls the first eight years of her life as looking for a safe place to live, and a place where her father could work. (see post one.) Winifred's highly-educated father was assigned to Guangdong to help build the impossible: the Burma Road. (see post two.) Two years after arriving, the Japanese invaded and the family had to make a quick escape. (see post three.) Thanks to Winifred's mother, despite all the moving about, Winifred excelled at her studies.  And, when she finally landed in Hong Kong for high school, she found her passion in the sciences.(see post four.) When she graduated--while the University of Hong Kong would not accept her because of some British rulings--she got a place at the University of Taiwan. (see post five.) In 1957, her father was offered an exchange post at Purdue University. This coincided with Sputnik--and was a time when America needed scientists--and he was offered a green card, the family was welcome to the U.S. (see post six.) She pursued graduate studies in science at the University of Chicago where she was often the only woman in the class. (post seven.)  Upon graduation, Winifred taught in a number of prestigious universities. (post eight.) In 1978, she found NASA, which turned into a lifelong rewarding career. (see post nine.She had wise words for women, including the thought, "You're as good as any man." (see post ten.)
For young Chinese immigrants, she also had some thoughts.
“In order to—if you want to stay in the United States—then you have to be part of the society instead of a special section."
"It’s really much more comfortable to be with someone that you share the same language and same worries than someone you don’t know as well. But you cannot work successfully if you don’t try to integrate. Try to understand how American society functions.”

(With gratitude to Winifred Huo, this concludes our interview.) 

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