Alumni Update: Q&A with Niuniu Teo

“I’ve always been grateful for my Montessori experience,” says Niuniu Teo

Last grade completed at Casa di Mir: 5th grade

What memories from Casa di Mir still make you smile? Aikido, the peace making table, Wanda’s Buddhist singing bowl, warm fuzzies… everything!

What skills do you still draw on from your experience at Casa di Mir? So much. Everything from the way I consciously avoid “accusatory” sentence structures when I work through disagreements with people to the way I break big projects down into manageable assignments and write them down in an old school planner.

Where did your education lead you after Casa? I attended Pinewood School 6th-12th grade, Stanford University for undergrad (majoring in History). And now I am at Peking University in Beijing, China for my master’s degree in Chinese Studies.

Tell us more about what your current studies. What is your favorite part? As previously mentioned, I’m now getting my master’s in Chinese Studies at Peking University through a scholarship program called Yenching Academy. My favorite part of this experience is how international our community is—my cohort consists of 126 students from more than 40 countries, and getting to know just how small and interconnected our world truly is has been an incredibly enlightening experience.

My research interests primarily focus on modern Chinese history. Something I find fulfilling about this, aside from understanding a part of my own history, is examining how humans can have identical wants and needs, yet create ways of collectively being that are incredibly different from each other, and often unintelligible to each other.

What’s next on your journey? My penchant for telling stories and explaining people to each other has also led me to gravitate towards journalism. One of my favorite jobs I’ve had thus far is working for KQED’s Forum.  I find journalism to be rewarding and grounding in ways that academia isn’t, and so I hope to continue my involvement in the more “public” sphere of journalism, even as I apply to PhD programs for this upcoming year.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? I’ve always been grateful for my Montessori experience.

 

This article is from the 2016-17 Annual Report: Our Vibrant Community. Download your copy today and see all articles.