Lisa Heller

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April 18, 2017

Where were you - and what did you do - during your PiA experience? 

Teacher at Dalian Institute of Technology, now Dalian University of Science and Technology, Dalian, China.

Looking back, what was one of the most memorable or interesting experiences you had on PiA?

The most memorable single experience was working as an extra on the set of the movie “The Last Emperor” which came to Dalian to film.  The most lasting experience overall was traveling through a just-opening China to see many of its cities, towns, and historic places.

What are you up to now?

I’m the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing coordinating the US public diplomacy programs in China including press and media outreach together with educational and cultural exchanges.

How did your PiA experience influence your subsequent career and/or life path?

When I joined the U.S. Foreign Service many years later, my early experience in China meant that my first assignments were there.  As frequently happens in this business, your earliest assignments tend to shape your career, so 25 years later, I find myself still serving in China.  (But I have been elsewhere in between!)

In a word or phrase, what was one of the most important things you gained as a result of your PiA experience?

Confidence.

What advice would you give current PiA Fellows in the field?

You’ll have lots of great opportunities before you.  Don’t spend too much time thinking about whether you should or shouldn’t take any one of them.  You’ll have lots of chances to get on the “right” path for you.

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