Chin Chin Yao

Work by Chin Chin Yao.

Chin Chin Yao took a circuitous path to the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design. Born in a rural town in Shaanxi, China, her family moved to Massachusetts when she was 4 so her father could pursue his doctoral degree, and stayed in the United States so Yao could pursue her own education.

Although she studied biology as an undergraduate student at MIT, Yao had always been interested in architecture. Her studies in the Sam Fox School, which have included international opportunities in Holland and Barcelona, helped her to see her homeland of China with fresh eyes during a visit last summer.

"I was stimulated by all of the new emerging architecture and became excited that I could contribute in the future to shaping the built environment all around the world," Yao recalls. "My new perspective came as a result of my learning at Washington University."

Yao has come full-circle in her studies: For her graduate degree project, she explored how architecture can facilitate a more collaborative environment in scientific research.

"When my parents made the decision to stay in this country, they were thinking of my educational opportunities," Yao says. "The Millstone family, who sponsors my scholarship, has given me exactly the type of opportunity my family was hoping for."

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