Who’s ready for tonight’s #30Under30PHL?! We have the lovely and ambitious Meicen, who is currently pursuing a career in international relations AS WELL AS finishing up her second year Ph.D. student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Political Science. Phew! Beautifully said in her nomination, “While many people debate whether the American dream is dead, Meicen proves that an even greater dream, an international one, is still alive.” Give it up for Meicen everyone!


1. How old are you?
26

2. What do you do?
Officially as a PhD student of international relations I research, write and teach. Unofficially as a Track-II diplomat, I cross borders of various kinds to bring together people who’d otherwise not meet. I use my pen to intellectually stab the narrow-minded and the ironhanded – to a figurative death if necessary. Having written and directed five plays as well as having composed scores for them, I am and always will be an artist.

3. What neighborhood in Philly do you call home?
University City, more specifically Riepe College House at UPenn where I serve as a Graduate Associate for 30 wonderful freshmen.

4. What is your favorite thing right now about Philly?
That it’s simultaneously a window to the world for the nomad in me, and a safe haven for the hermit in me.

5. What do you consider your greatest achievement thus far?
“Cultural clairvoyance” acquired from years of being a cosmopolitan. It’s like seeing something as both being there and not being there at the same time because I switch my cultural lenses with such ease. It’s magic.

6. If not yourself, who would you like to be?
All that matters is I’d live any life to the fullest.

7. Your idea of happiness.
Till the work be done.

8. Guiltiest pleasure?
Adrenaline rush.

9. Favorite inspirational quote?
“Don’t sit there and do nothing just because you can’t do everything.” – paraphrased variously

10. What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
How they challenge me and leave me feeling humbled yet proud.

11. Favorite food in Philly?
Everything tastes twice as good for half the price compared to New York.

12. Favorite drink in Philly?
See #11.

13. Favorite song right now?
The sobering silence. My thoughts are its lyrics.

14. A book you plan on reading?
Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis.

15. A book that powerfully impacted your life?
The Evolution of Cooperation by Robert Axelrod.

16. Name one historical figure you would like to have coffee with.
Empress Wu circa 7th C. – we both prefer tea.

17. How do you like your coffee?
See #16.

18. Your main fault.
Being kept awake at night by things that are “not my business.”

19. What is your most prized material possession?
A friend once called me a “puritan,” and another called me a “Spartan.” I find it telling.

20. Your biggest failure.
Has to do with spilt milk.

21. What you learned from that failure?
“…all the forces of the universe were bent on spilling it.” – W. Somerset Maugham

22. What is your greatest fear?
None.

23. Where will you be in 30 years?
Given that I’ve studied and/or worked in five countries on four continents, my best guess would be the airport.

24. Favorite thing to do on a Sunday?
Work.

25. Best date spot?
I don’t date. I take them on adventures.

26. What does happiness mean to you?
See #7.

27. Twitter or Instagram?
http://huff.to/1sVxOzt

28. Describe Philly in a Tweet.
This station stop: Philadelphia. Mind the gap.

29. Who should everyone follow on Instagram?
http://goo.gl/trC94U Take it easy.

30. Pats or Genos?
World peace.

#30Under30PHL is a month-long series highlighting Philadelphia’s most ambitious women. Created in collaboration with Femme & Fortune and Alex Kacala.