Profile with Eva Lam

Eva Lam (Wisconsin & Lady Margaret Hall 2010) is currently pursuing a DPhil in Education at the University of Oxford. She will start teaching 11th and 12th grade history in Boston, MA this fall.  She holds an A.B. in Social Studies from Harvard University.

Rhodes Project: Where do you call home?

Eva Lam: Home is Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but I’ve been living in Oxford for the past three years. I was in Boston for four years before that, and that’s where I’m going at the end of this summer.

Rhodes Project: What was the last book you couldn’t put down?

Eva Lam: After Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt wrote a memoir called Teacher Man about his time teaching high-school English in New York City. I’m going into high-school teaching next year, so that was both exciting and terrifying to read.

Rhodes Project: What is currently playing on your iPod?

Eva Lam: Janelle Monae just put out a new song with Erykah Badu this morning called Q.U.E.E.N. That’s probably the last thing I listened to.

Rhodes Project: When you were a kid, what did you aspire to be later in life?

Eva Lam: I wanted to be Indiana Jones. I eventually he realized he was an archaeologist, and I didn’t want to be an archaeologist, so I had to give up on that ambition. But that was my first career dream.

Rhodes Project: What has surprised you most about your time at Oxford?

Eva Lam: I’ve been really surprised by the diversity of people I interact with, in terms of where they’re from, but also in terms of academic interests. My housemates are doing law, chemistry, development studies, and history.  In other circumstances, I probably would have been around education people all the time.

Rhodes Project: What advice would you give to your sixteen-year-old self?

Eva Lam: I probably would have recommended a different haircut. I think I probably would have said, keep doing what you’re doing, don’t worry about popularity, do what you love.

Rhodes Project: Who is your favorite fictional heroine?

Eva Lam: I wish I had a high-minded literary answer to this question, but honestly, it’s probably Lisa Simpson. Obviously I empathized with her because she was the nerdy, misunderstood child, but I also love the way she sticks to her principles and doesn’t sacrifice too much for the sake of fitting in.

Rhodes Project: Who is your favorite real-life heroine? 

Eva Lam: I would probably have to say my little sister. She’s very intellectually curious. She’ll decide, ‘Oh, I’ll take up roller derby.’ And then she’ll take up roller derby and get really good at it. I admire that kind of spirit.

Rhodes Project: What do you do to relax?

Eva Lam: I play outdated strategy video games. I do taekwondo as well, which is a really good release.

Rhodes Project: What inspires you and why?

Eva Lam: I am inspired by knowing that in my field of education, while there are lots of problems with the public school system in the United States, you are generally working with kids who want to learn and with adults who want to make kids’ lives better. Just knowing that there are that many good people in such a big impersonal system is always inspiring.  

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