Faculty and staff

Administration

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Deron Marvin, Head of School for Kindergarten-Grade 5

Deron Marvin began his tenure as the Co-Head in 2021. Mr. Marvin holds a B.A. in Liberal Studies/History from San Francisco State University, an M.A. in Sociology and Education from Columbia University Teachers College, and an M.A. in Educational Leadership from Michigan State University. In 2021, Mr. Marvin was awarded a Klingenstein Fellowship at Columbia University Teachers College. Mr. Marvin's educational career spans more than 20 years across US independent schools and international schools. Most recently, Mr. Marvin was the Head of School at Xiamen International School in Xiamen, China. He, and his wife, Laurie Ransom have one daughter who is a junior and is attending a boarding school in Connecticut.

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Yi Que (阙宜), Head of School for Pre-K

Yi Que has been working at Shu Ren since 2012. Yi Que believes that young children are naturally curious, creative, and capable. They have the ability to question and pursue their own learning and research. This firm belief has carried Yi Que through bachelor’s degrees in Early Childhood Education at Shanghai East China Normal University, and a Post Graduate Certificate of Education at the University of Sunderland. Her academic background has been enriched by 30 years of Early Childhood Education experience and 25 years of work experience in bilingual and international schools. After years of leading Early Childhood Education program in Shanghai and the US, Yi Que gains an in-depth insight on whole child development in an inquiry-based learning environment.

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Michelle Peng (彭明瑄), Admissions and Marketing Director

Michelle started her career in Management Information Systems. She was in the corporate world leading cross functional technical programs and projects for fortune 500 companies. Growing up in Taiwan and the States, she attributed her success to wonderful teachers and mentors. They shaped her into a resourceful, determined, and level-headed global thinker that gets things accomplished no matter what obstacles stand in the way. It’s always been a dream of hers to serve as a catalyst to help educators ignite greatness in others. The silver lining in this pandemic is that her dream came true, Michelle joined Shu Ren International School in August of 2020. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys traveling and spending quality time in the backyard over wine and boba tea with family and friends!

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Jill (Yunju) Bao (保蕴钜), Administrative Officer

Jill joined Shu Ren International School in 2017. She was born in China and moved to the United States in 2010. She earned both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications. From 2014 to 2017, Jill worked as a logistics specialist for AMZ Intl. Before moving to the U.S., Jill was a patent examiner at the State Intellectual Property Office of China. She has enjoyed living and working in both China and the U.S. Jill has a son and a daughter. She loves kids and enjoys spending time with them. After work, she loves cooking, reading, and watching movies.

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Caitlyn Wong, Administrative Officer

Caitlyn was born and raised in the Bay Area. She went to study at Santa Barbara City College for two years and then transferred to San Francisco State University. She received her B.A. from San Francisco State in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. Throughout her life she always worked with children. She taught swim lessons from ages 2-14 and she worked for a nanny company when she was going to college in Santa Barbara. She finally realized her passion is to work with children and now she is studying to become a preschool teacher. Later on in the future she hopes to volunteer abroad as a teacher. Before joining Shu Ren International School, she worked at another international school which gave her the opportunity to gain experience working in the office as well as with the students. After work she loves to be outdoors, socialize with her friends and family, and travel.

Early Childhood

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Manli Li (Keira 曼丽), Head Teacher (Pre-K2)

Manli was born and raised in China. She completed her Design and Marketing Management major at College in China. She also completed the Associate in Arts degree in Child Development at Merritt College in the US, and obtained relevant certificates such as teacher and assistant teacher in child development. After graduating from Merritt College, she worked in a Chinese preschool for a year. Working with children makes her feel happy because of the children's smiles. She is very happy and honored to be able to help and witness the growth of children. Providing support for children's learning and development skills is her responsibility as an early childhood educator in her work. In her spare time, she likes to watch movies, paint, travel, and hike with friends.

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Yanni Zhu (Xiaoyan 朱小燕), Assistant Teacher (Pre-K2)

Yanni was born in Guangzhou, China and she has sixteen years teaching experience at elementary school in China. She graduated from the education department of South China Normal University in Guangzhou. Yanni completed the Teacher Assistant program at Merritt College in 2016. Before she joined Shu Ren school, she worked at Lake Merritt Child Care Center for 4 years in Oakland. She likes cooking, dancing, traveling, playing Ping pong and hiking. She enjoys working with children because she believes that every child is unique and very excited to see each child thriving.

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Zoe Weng, Lead Teacher (Pre-K2)

Zoe Weng was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan and has received a Bachelor’s in Chinese Literature from Chinese Culture University. Zoe worked as a preschool lead teacher in Pre-K2 in San Francisco. The school included Reggio Emilia and the emergent curriculum. She also studied 12+ units of Early Child Education from both CCSF and TTC. In all aspects, she values children as strong, capable, and resilient. By utilizing an approach that is tailored to fit every child’s needs, she believes all children are able to reach their potential and beyond. In her spare time, she likes reading story books to her daughter, singing songs, and traveling.

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Annie Chen (Yanru 陈燕如), Assistant Teacher (Pre-K2)

Annie is from Guang Dong, China, and has worked as an Assistant Teacher at Shu Ren International School since December 2013. Annie completed the Associate Teacher and Teacher Assistant program at Merritt College in 2013. She enjoys working with children and being a mother to her own two children. She enjoys volunteering, hiking, fishing, playing tennis, and socializing with friends. She is very proud of our students, especially when they start speaking Mandarin to us, without having any prior Chinese language experience at home. She thinks everyone should learn a foreign language, and that it is always better to start earlier than later.

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Queena Zheng (Qing Lan 郑晴岚), Teacher (Pre-K2)

Queena was born and raised in Southern China. She has worked at Shu Ren as a Pre-K2 teacher since 2013. Previous to working at Shu Ren, Queena was a teacher at a bilingual preschool in San Francisco since 2007. She enjoys working with children and watching them thrive happily. To her, it’s always a pleasure to see her students smile, build friendships, and learn new knowledge at school. Queena earned a B.A. degree in both Liberal Studies and Chinese from San Francisco State University. She also earned 12+ units of Early Childhood Education from both SFSU and CCSF. In her spare time, she likes shopping with friends, listening to music, and spending time with her precious family.

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Chien-Hsuan Chen (陈粁嬛), Early Childhood Jefferson Site Director and Head Teacher (Pre-K3)

Chien-Hsuan was born and raised in Taiwan and received her B.A. degree in Early Childhood Education at the Chia Nan University of Pharmacy & Science before finishing her M.A. degree in Curriculum Design at the Dominican University of California.  After graduating, Chien-Hsuan worked at Shu Ren International School as the preschool director and Pre-K3 and Pre-K4 teacher from 2008-2012. She later went to work at a Reggio Emilio/IB school in Tokyo, Japan as a Chinese homeroom teacher for 3-5 years old in order to enrich her understanding of secondary language acquisition. Students in Chien-Hsuan’s class will gain Chinese communication skills in a secure environment through student initiated inquiries and hands-on projects, while also experiencing new media forms that enhance children’s creativity and imagination. During her spare time, Chien-Hsuan likes to get as close to nature as possible.

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Lillian Lei (Yan Rui 雷嫣), Assistant Teacher (Pre-K3)

Born in China, Lillian has an Associate Teaching Certificate from Merritt College, Oakland. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Banking and Finance from Laney College and completed the Associate Teacher and Teacher Assistant program at Merritt College in 2010. Before joining Shu Ren International School, she worked at Chatham School for three years. Lillian truly enjoys working in early childhood education. Lilian likes arts, outdoor activities, traveling, dancing, and listening to music. She is always happy to show her love to children and watch them grow.

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Yannu Li (李雁女​), Assistant Teacher (Pre-K3)

Yan joined Shu Ren International School in 2019. She was born in China and moved to the United States in the early 2000s. Yan started her studies at Laney College in 2008 and she later attended City College of San Francisco in 2018, studying child development. Yan has been in the early childhood field for four years. She began her career in early childhood in a Montessori International School, where she adapted and developed the different methods of early childhood education. Yan is passionate about early learning and enriching young minds through education. In her free time, Yan enjoys cooking and traveling with her family.

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Chia-Pin Chen (陈嘉萍), Head Teacher (Pre-K4)

Chia-Pin was born and raised in Taiwan where she received her B.F.A. and M.A. degrees. She worked in the museum as an exhibition planner for several years. She also had experiences teaching art to children in Taiwan before she pursued being a preschool teacher. A few years ago, she took two classes in child development and found the subject fascinating and was inspired to explore more. Because of her art background, she views each child's unique potential to the fullest and is excited to see each child thriving. She likes art and nature. In her spare time, Chia-Pin enjoys painting, watching movies, hiking, and camping.

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Ava Luo (罗洁华), Assistant Teacher (Pre-K4)

Ava Luo was born and raised in Guangzhou, China where she studied accounting and was a trained accountant in China. After emigrating to the United States and raising her two children, she decided to leverage her experience and passion for education by working with young learners. She worked in a Montessori preschool for two years prior to joining Shu Ren International School. She is certified in Early Childhood Education and CPR. Ava is also a professional Guzheng player. Besides playing Guzheng, she enjoys cooking and volunteering at the local temple in her spare time.

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Jiecai Xu (Cindy 许洁彩), Assistant Teacher (Pre-K)

Jiecai was born and raised in Guangdong Province, China, and graduated from Guangdong AIB Polytechnic College. She studied Child Development at Merritt College and received her Child Development Teacher Permit in 2017. Jiecai started working at Shu Ren International School in 2015. She has been an assistant teacher in the Pre-K classes since 2016. She loves children very much and hopes to learn and grow with them. It is her greatest satisfaction to see the smiles and progress of children at every stage. She enjoys listening to music, traveling, and enjoying food.

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Siwei Zhang (张思蔚), Assistant Teacher (Pre-K)

Siwei was born in Shanghai, studied in Japan and graduated from Yokohama International Education Academy. In 1994 Siwei came to the United States and graduated from the National Holistic Institute - Emeryville in 2002. As a mother, she loves children very much and greatly values the early Chinese education in young children. Siwei has been a Chinese tutor for many years since 2003, and started working at Shuren International School in 2018. She likes to sing, dance, learn and make happy memorable memories with young ones.

K-5 School

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Tanya Tian (田梦雪), Head Teacher (Kindergarten Mandarin)

Tanya is from Beijing, China, Tanya received an Education B.A from Beijing Union University. She has taught in IB International schools for four years in China, and four years in Singapore. Tanya has acted as the Chinese editor at the “Preschool Pictorial Magazine” for three years. She wrote and produced the Chinese children’s rhyme, “Close Your Little Eye,” and co-edited the Chinese children’s book series, “Red Kangaroo Protects Himself.” As a Chinese teacher, she is always excited when she and her students are interested in their learning and when they develop a learning attitude that will support them as global citizens now and in the future.

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Kay Nickens Boone, Head Teacher (Kindergarten and Grade 1 English)

Kay is originally from Louisville, Kentucky. After a successful career as a professional ballet dancer, Kay returned to school to get a B.A. in Education from the University of Louisville and an M.A. in Teaching - Primary Grade K-5 from The University of the Cumberlands. Before joining Shu Ren International School, Kay taught dance in a performing arts high school in Texas, at Chadwick International School in South Korea, and grades 1-3 in China at Shanghai United International School and Xinhua Academy in Hefei, Anhui Province. Kay has professional teaching licenses from Kentucky and New Jersey and has completed PYP training for the IB program. Kay enjoys swimming, traveling, and spending time with her daughter. Kay is looking forward to an exciting and fun year at Shu Ren!

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Zhiling Xu (许志玲), Assistant Teacher (Kindergarten Mandarin)

Zhiling Xu graduated from South China Normal University with a B.A. and has been in the education field for more than 30 years. She first taught at a college of adult education in Guangzhou for more than 10 years. Zhiling then moved to the Bay Area and continued to teach Chinese at after schools and weekend Chinese schools. After obtaining ECE related credits and qualification certificates at Merritt College and Contra Costa College, she joined Shu Ren International School in 2010 where she worked for eight years. Then she transferred to an after school Chinese Program at a public school. When this program was closed because of the pandemic, Zhiling returned to Shu Ren in March 2021 and now works as an assistant teacher in Kindergarten. She is very passionate about teaching and education. In her spare time, Zhiling loves reading and outdoor activities.

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Lian Liu (刘恋), Associate Teacher (Grade 1 & 2 Mandarin)

Lian graduated with an MA degree in Education (concentrate in Early Childhood Education) at San Francisco State University, and with a Graduate Certificate in Inclusive Early Childhood Practices. She was born and raised in mainland China and is a native Mandarin speaker with full professional proficiency in English. She has taught in Shanghai and San Francisco for several years. Lian is super passionate about teaching Mandarin to American kids. In her teaching experience, she has also worked with special education students, students with no Chinese background, and students who arrive to her with significant skills in Chinese. She strives to make lessons fun for students, remembering that students learn best when they are engaged joyfully with the subject matter.

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Rene du Toit, Head Teacher (Grade 2 English, Interim School Librarian)

Rene is a South African who was born in Zimbabwe. Ever since she was a young girl, she has dreamed of being a teacher. Rene has a Bachelor of Arts in Education (Foundation Phase) and has experience teaching on three different continents. Her husband is from Colombia and they have a young daughter. Rene loves to travel and learn about different cultures. In her free time, Rene enjoys being with her friends and family, shopping, drinking coffee, hiking, and swimming.

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Pei-Yin Lee (Dawn 李佩萦) Head Teacher (Grade 3 Mandarin)

Dawn is from Taiwan. She has a bachelor's degree in Chinese Literature from National Taiwan Normal University, and a master's degree in Education from Castleton University. She found her passion for language and culture education, and spent the last 6 years teaching Chinese immersion in Utah. Dawn has been working with students from different age groups including elementary school, middle school and college students. She enjoy learning and growing with her students, when not working, she loves to read, watch movies, work out and travel around the world.

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Jiayuan Li (Jay 李家苑), Assistant Teacher (Grade 3, 4 & 5 Mandarin)

Jay joined Shu Ren international school in 2019. Before graduating from San Francisco State majoring in Business, she took child development courses and early childhood education at Merritt college and SFSU. Jay has always been interested in early childhood education, joining Shu Ren allows her to develop teaching skills through many experienced teachers. The most wonderful thing for her is to grow together with the students. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, hiking and swimming.

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Anny Chen (陈曦), Head Teacher (Chinese Program Coordinator, Grade 4 and 5 Mandarin)

Originally from China, Annie has a B.A. in Chinese Language and Literature and an M.A. in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language. Before coming to Shu Ren, Anny taught Chinese language and culture at Conway High School, Arkansas for two years. Then worked as a 5th grade homeroom teacher and a Chinese Second Language teacher in Shanghai United International School for six years (an IB school). She has also worked as a grade level coordinator for sixth grade and organized the PYP exhibition for her previous school. She is very experienced with the upper primary IB PYP curriculum and always enjoys learning and inquiring with the students.

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Alexandra Ditchey, Head Teacher (PYP Coordinator, Grade 3 English)

For the past nine years Alexandra has been teaching and promoting life-long learning for a variety of grade levels; from first to seventh grade.  After receiving her Master’s in Elementary Education from Arizona State University, she began her international teaching journey in Shanghai, China.  Beyond Shanghai she has also lived and taught in Hanoi, Vietnam and Rome, Italy.  Through several years teaching the PYP curriculum, Alexandra is inspired to cultivate student agency, confidence, and open-mindedness in order to foster a safe and powerful learning environment. Beyond the classroom, she loves reading, camping, cooking, and playing with her dog. Alexandra is thankful for the opportunity to join Shu Ren’s warm and strong community.​

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Yu Zhang (张裕), Head Teacher (Grade 2 Mandarin, Physical Education Teacher)

Yu Zhang was born and raised in Guangzhou, China. He graduated with a Bachelor of Education from the Education University of Hong Kong (Major Elementary School Education, Minor P.E.) and Master of Education from Hong Kong Baptist University. Then he became an elementary teacher in Hong Kong. After moving to the Bay Area, he became an elementary teacher of Chinese Bilingual Class in SFUSD (San Francisco Unified School District) for 5 years. Besides teaching, he loves tutoring and playing badminton. Yu earned 3rd place for the men's team in 2010 China Universiade Badminton Championship, competed in the semi-final of the 2015/2016 UC Berkeley Badminton Tournament and won 1st place in the 2016 Stanford University Badminton Tournament. He enjoys playing badminton not only around the Bay Area, but also around the world. During his spare time, he likes to do different activities such as snowboarding, mountain biking, and motorcycling. He believes that students can achieve high levels in both academics and sports.

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Melanie Slater, Head Teacher (Math/STEM Program Coordinator, Grade 4 and 5 English)

Mel was born in New Orleans, and grew up in England, Texas, and Newfoundland. She received her BA and MA in Education from West Virginia University, and has been teaching for thirteen years. Mel loves teaching math and science, and is excited to serve as STEM coordinator along with her role as 4th and 5th grade English teacher. Prior to joining Shu Ren, Mel worked at EBI, a Spanish-English dual-immersion IB school in Oakland. Growing up in a wide variety of places sparked a curiosity and passion for learning about different cultures. In her free time, Mel enjoys riding her bike, playing ice hockey, hiking with her partner, cooking, and helping her many house plants grow. 

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Shanshan Yang (杨珊珊), Head Teacher (Grade 1 Mandarin)

Shanshan Yang is originally from Sichuan, China. She became a Kindergarten teacher in a Reggio-inspired Kindergarten after getting her M.A. in Education from East China Normal University in 2009. Shanshan then moved to Western International School of Shanghai (an IB world school) as a homeroom teacher and a Lead Chinese teacher in Early Years for six years. During this time, she also became a PYP Workshop Leader and School Visitor. She believes that every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident, and self-assured. It is her goal to create an environment that fosters student-agency, which helps students to be life-long learners. Shanshan loves hiking, boxing, and reading in her free time.

Specialized

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Gladys Barrios, Spanish Teacher

Gladys is of El Salvadorian heritage, and lived in El Salvador when she was a child. She has used her bilingual skills working as a Spanish Interpreter in the insurance, finance, telecommunications and medical fields. Gladys has supported the Oakland Unified School District’s English Learner Advisory Committee with translation services. She has also worked in a bilingual call center. Gladys brings unbounded energy and enthusiasm to any project she undertakes, and her engaging style makes Spanish come alive for her students.

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Kay Nickens Boone, Dance Instructor

Kay is originally from Louisville, Kentucky. After a successful career as a professional ballet dancer, Kay returned to school to get a B.A. in Education from the University of Louisville and an M.A. in Teaching - Primary Grade K-5 from The University of the Cumberlands. Before joining Shu Ren International School, Kay taught dance in a performing arts high school in Texas, at Chadwick International School in South Korea, and grades 1-3 in China at Shanghai United International School and Xinhua Academy in Hefei, Anhui Province. Kay has professional teaching licenses from Kentucky and New Jersey and has completed PYP training for the IB program. Kay enjoys swimming, traveling, and spending time with her daughter. Kay is looking forward to an exciting and fun year at Shu Ren!

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Ben Kramarz, Music Instructor

Ben Kramarz was born and raised in the Bay Area. From an early age he was immersed in music, spending summers at Camp Tawonga, a Jewish summer camp near Yosemite where his father was the director. Ben received both a BA and MA from UC Berkeley, where he researched and composed a thesis on music at Jewish summer camp. Based on this research he also wrote a book, A Guide to Songleading and Communal Singing. Ben has been a music educator for over a decade, singing and making music with people of all ages in synagogues, preschools, camps and schools. In addition to his work at Shu Ren, Ben is the head songleader of SingJam, an immersive music experience. In his spare time, Ben enjoys bike riding, playing music, and hiking in the woods. Ben lives in Berkeley with his wife, Noa.

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Zoe Farmer, Art Instructor

Zoe received a B.A. in Sculpture in 1999 and in 2001 she completed a postgraduate certificate in education at the Institute of Education in London, England. Before moving to the Bay Area, Zoe spent 12 years teaching art and photography to middle and high schoolers in London. A practicing artist since 2007, Zoe has shown work in both London and San Francisco and earned an MFA in Sculpture at the California College of the Arts. Since arriving in the Bay Area in 2012, Zoe has worked with The San Francisco Arts Education Project. She has taught art, ceramics, and photography in several public schools in San Francisco from grades K through 8. She has also taught sculpture and 3D design classes to undergraduates at California College of the Arts. Through The San Francisco Arts Education Project, Zoe has worked on many large collaborative public art projects with school children and the wider community. These collaborations have been shown in the SFartsED gallery at the Minnesota Street Project gallery in San Francisco. Zoe continues to be involved in artistic and scientific collaborations delivering community-building workshops to the public. Zoe has a five-year-old child who attends a Spanish immersion international school. Zoe and her family identify strongly with the international model for building global bilingual citizens. Zoe is an avid scuba diver and passionate about the ocean.

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Yu Zhang, Physical Education Instructor

Yu Zhang was born and raised in Guangzhou, China. He graduated with a Bachelor of Education from the Education University of Hong Kong (Major Elementary School Education, Minor P.E.) and Master of Education from Hong Kong Baptist University. Then he became an elementary teacher in Hong Kong. After moving to the Bay Area, he became an elementary teacher of Chinese Bilingual Class in SFUSD (San Francisco Unified School District) for 5 years. Besides teaching, he loves tutoring and playing badminton. Yu earned 3rd place for the men's team in 2010 China Universiade Badminton Championship, competed in the semi-final of the 2015/2016 UC Berkeley Badminton Tournament and won 1st place in the 2016 Stanford University Badminton Tournament. He enjoys playing badminton not only around the Bay Area, but also around the world. During his spare time, he likes to do different activities such as snowboarding, mountain biking, and motorcycling. He believes that students can achieve high levels in both academics and sports.