Q&A With June’s Featured Editor: Cindy Chang
Cindy Chang is an associate in Goodwin’s New York office.
BMW: When you were 8, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Cindy: A novelist—but not a particularly literary one. I used to keep notebooks and notebooks of short stories about mermaids or superheroes or aliens, each with strange and fantastic attributes and completely unpronounceable names. Of course, the stories always concluded with a pithy moral delivering all the weight of an 8-year-old’s wisdom. I was sure I would grow up and turn these stories into a living.
Now, I still write a lot, but just not quite so much fiction.
BMW: Interesting fact about you?
Cindy: I was a competitive racewalker in high school. Yes, this is a real sport—an Olympic event, even. I did not join the track team intending to compete as a racewalker, but a torn tendon sidelined me from running, and my coach recommended that I try racewalking when I recovered. Thus, I learned the rules for racewalking, which require that you keep your leg straight when your foot hits the ground (which makes for a very unnatural form), and I started to compete in the racewalking event. I got quite good at it; in fact, as I neared the end of my senior year, I was rapidly reaching the mile time necessary to qualify for nationals.
My father intervened right before nationals, however, claiming that doing well on Advanced Placement exams was far more important than qualifying for a national track competition. So I took two weeks off from training to study for the AP exams. The next time I competed, my mile time was 30 seconds slower than my fastest time—meaning nationals was out of the question.
The AP credits helped me graduate a semester early, so perhaps in the end, my father was right. (Or maybe I’d have been a national racewalking champion—who knows?)
BMW: What spurred your interest in life sciences?
Cindy: I was the unlikeliest candidate to pursue a career in the sciences. As an aspiring novelist, I was that kid who always sat in the back of the classroom with her nose in a sci-fi or fantasy novel, blithely ignoring everything the teachers said. But in ninth grade, my biology teacher took the time to show me what was strange and fantastic in biology, and persuaded me that it was better than my books because it was real. She sparked my curiosity so much that when I started college, I decided to major in biology. The lectures gave rise to more questions than answers, so after I graduated, I entered a graduate program focusing on molecular biology and genetics, where I picked up the tools to find my own answers.
To learn more about Cindy Chang, click here to view her full biography.