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Chu "Cassie" Chen

"All kids in China study English," says Chu Chen, who adopted "Cassie" as her English name in grade school in Rui'An, on China's east coast. Chen studied Chinese literature in college, 400 miles south along the coast in Xiamen, the Island City, and continued for a masters in environmental lit. "My advisor was Professor Wang," she says. "He wrote the book that introduced the concept of environmental literature to China." Wang asked her to stay on for a PhD, but Chen wanted to see the world and instead got a scholarship in the UO environmental studies masters program in the fall of 2007. "I took a class in political ecology that brought me a lot of vision and knowledge," she says. "I studied natural resource policy and collaborative environmental management." After graduation and a trip home to visit her parents, Chen returned to Eugene last November to start a one-year volunteer internship with ELAW, the non-profit environmental law firm. Her main job is contacting potential Chinese ELAW fellows, lawyers who are working in the environmental field. "Work and practice is more important to me than getting paid. I wanted to stay in Eugene," says Chen, who was married in May to Yan Guo, a PhD student in physics.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 10 June 2010

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