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Shenyang is a large city in northeast China, with a long and important history. It was the capital city of the Qing dynasty before the Manchu people conquered the whole of China and became a capital city again of the puppet empire, Manchuria, created by Imperial Japan during World War Two. I was born in that city, long after all the historical dust settled, into a family of a government bureaucrat and a medical doctor with two sisters.


The family was relatively well-off and enjoyed a peaceful life until the Cultural Revolution. My father was a man of integrity, not a good quality for a government official at the time. His honesty got him in trouble which affected the whole family.


We were exiled to a remote countryside for “re-education.” As a preschooler, I did not comprehend our plight, and I dreamed of a good life ahead of me. The reality, however, became painfully clear when I started school. I was singled out as a bad child from a bad family by teachers and students. I studied hard to prove myself.


I especially loved the Arts and dreamed of becoming a painter. All this did not seem to lead me anywhere. Children like me and my sisters and seemed doomed to stay in that cold remote village forever.



The change came just before I entered high school. China began to reverse to a moderate society for some reason from its extremist policy-driven society. My father was exonerated and the whole family was allowed to move back to Shenyang, the city I was born in.


Regrettably dear father was never able to actually see his reputation rectified, as he had passed away in his sleep a few months before the announcement. I wish he were able to see me beginning to dare to dream, beginning to plan for the future, and especially seeing where I am now. Love you, dad!




Mom was a role model for me. Observing her saving patients' lives, even in the most barren environment was obviously inspirational to me. Though I seemed natural in performing art and had serious thoughts about becoming a dancer.


I eventually decided on following my mom’s footsteps and took medical training at China Medical University, a renowned medical school in town. This is a major turning point in my life. I was geared to training for my inquisitive mind, while my passion for art would be burning at the side and always enmesh in my life.

The medical school study not only trained me in the professional field but also heightened my academic curiosity. A strong urge grew in me to see the outside world at the same time. After medical school, instead of going into practice, I decided to pursue further graduate study. This time I aimed at the US as my place of learning.

 I was admitted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison to its Ph.D. program in Clinical Nutrition and Oncology.  Three and a half years later, I earned my Ph.D. degree, with 11 research papers published in various scientific journals around the world. Now I came to the second crossroad of my life. I need to decide whether I want to stay in academia or prepare myself for professional practice. Obviously, I have chosen the latter and here I am.

- Suzanne Ge Yu

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