Shawna Wu

Learner. Creator. Sister.

I consider myself a learner because I consider myself still an amateur, as a student at Duke Kunshan University, surrounded by so many accomplished people that I hope to learn from. At Duke, I am an assistant researcher at the Roybal Center, a lab for cross-disciplinary research in the field of gerontology.

I think of myself as a creator as I’ve always liked to create things that bring happiness to myself and those around me. Since I was young, I liked to play music and dance. I now actively post videos on my Youtube channel (link below) as a memory bank of funny and happy memories I can look back on.

Finally, I’m also a sister to a teenager whose hormones are currently off the charts and I don’t want to admit looks like my clone but even our phones think we’re the same person.


How does being Taiwanese/Taiwanese American and/or community ally play a role in your life?

When I was younger, I didn’t really know who I was. I always asked myself if I was Taiwanese or Chinese or both. I vividly remember having an argument with my friend during a sleepover at her house in third grade about whether Taiwan was a country or not. I was so sure about my stance that I called my mom to confirm my belief, only to my disappointment. As I grew and learned more about Chinese and Taiwanese history and culture, my identity as a Taiwanese American was no longer a source of confusion, but rather one of pride.


If you could teach future generations 1 thing about being Taiwanese/Taiwanese American or Taiwan, what would it be?

I know a lot of other Taiwanese people go through the same struggle I did. I think it’s important to remember that others may try to label your identity but it doesn’t matter as long as you know and are proud of who you are.


Favorite memory of Taiwan/Taiwanese America?

My favorite memory of Taiwan has to be the food and the people. I can go on for days about the food, there is just something about the flavorful broth of beef noodle soup and the heartiness of minced pork rice that screams home and coziness. The people there are also so welcoming and make me feel so at home. Every time I go to Taiwan, my aunt will take me hiking and there will always be groups of volunteers hauling huge metal containers of tea water up the mountain to keep hikers hydrated. Seeing that makes me so proud to be a part of a culture of hospitality and community.


Favorite Taiwanese food?

Stinky tofu. It shouldn’t even be controversial.

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