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Portraits of AIS

Meet Mimi Wang '05

How long did you attend AIS and why did you enroll?

I started at Agnes Irwin in eighth grade and graduated in 2005. My parents were drawn to Agnes Irwin for the obviously incredible academic reputation, but what really set it apart was the strong sense of community that was apparent even just from a day-long visit.

What is unique about Agnes Irwin?

In my experience, what sets Agnes Irwin apart from other great private schools in the region is the sense of community and supportive environment. Faculty and staff are genuinely interested in your well-being and even though everyone works hard, it's not competitive.

What teachers made the biggest impression on you and why?

Mr. Frank made a huge impact on me — both as my junior year history teacher and senior class advisor. I majored in history in college and remember the wonderful history teachers I had at Agnes Irwin — Mr. Frank, Dr. Barnett and Mr. Connally. I also loved the three years I spent in Madame Barnett’s advisory.

What is one of your most memorable experiences at AIS? 

Two memories really stick out: my class winning the hallway decorating competition every year and our senior prank. We planted flowers in an “05” on the fields and also hid walkie talkies in the ceiling tiles of different classroom (sorry Madame Davis!).

How do you feel your AIS education has served you since graduating?

I remember how much AIS emphasized writing skills and being able to write well has been hugely important, in college and even more so after college. Being able to write well also changes the way you think about and approach problems, which makes you better overall at almost anything in the workplace.

There was an expectation of participation and leadership at Agnes Irwin. For someone who is naturally shy/introverted like I am, it made me develop leadership skills and made me more likely to get involved in activities in college and afterward.

Tell us about your work as a Foreign Service Officer with the US Department of State. What was your path from Yale to government work? 

I applied to the Foreign Service right after graduating from Yale in 2009, but the application process takes several months, so I didn’t start until the fall of 2010. In the meantime, I worked at a nonprofit in New York City. My first assignment for the Foreign Service was Manila in the Philippines, where I was a consular officer from 2011-2012. In 2012, I came back to D.C. for several months for Dari language training, and then spent 2013-2014 in Kabul, Afghanistan as a press officer. From 2014-2015, I worked in the State Department’s Operation Center, which is its 24/7 communications and crisis management center. I’m now working in our Bureau of Public Affairs.

What is one cool experience your job has afforded you?

Through my job, I've gotten to do so many cool things and see places I never would have otherwise, and also gotten a chance to see the amazing impact the United States has in the countries I've worked. When I was in the Philippines, I got to travel to Maguindanao, which is a very remote and beautiful part of the country, where the U.S. government is funding a road-building project that cut in half the travel time for farmers to bring their products to market. When I was in Afghanistan, I visited the Herat Citadel, which is a huge fortress partially built by Alexander the Great that the United States helped restore.

I also got to be a guest judge on an Afghan cooking show called 59 Minutes (similar to Iron Chef). We brought a team of guest chefs from the U.S. Embassy to make American food. The secret ingredient was cauliflower. The food was surprisingly delicious from both teams, the Americans and the Afghans.

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Mimi Wang '05

Graduated AIS: 2005
Started AIS: 8th Grade
Attended college at: Yale
Currently: Works for the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Public Affairs 

Mimi at the Herat Citadel in Afghanistan

"There was an expectation of participation and leadership at Agnes Irwin. For someone who is naturally shy / introverted like I am, it made me develop leadership skills and made me more likely to get involved in activities in college and afterwards."


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