Dr Julia Chang Wan (1956)
2022 Alumnae Award for Social Impact and Professional Achievement
Dr Julia Chang Wan (1956) is a highly-regarded science educator in the USA as well as an active member of women’s rights advocacy groups.
Julia started her career in biochemistry research, co-authoring two publications: Science (1963) and Proceedings for The Society For Experimental Biology and Medicine (1964). Julia then trained as a high school teacher; she taught physics and chemistry and was later appointed the Science Director of her local school district in Massachusetts. At the same time, she attended Boston College and received her Doctorate in Education in 1978. Her PhD thesis was on education evaluation and provided an important direction for her in educational administration. One of her proudest accomplishments was when an article she wrote on elementary teacher leadership in science education was published in Science and Children (October, 1978).
In order to be closer to her husband who was living on the west coast, Julia moved to Washington State in 1979 when she was appointed Director of Curriculum of a local School District, and in 1984 she was appointed Assistant Superintendent. In 1993, Julia was recruited by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Washington DC to serve as a director of the new science education reform initiative.
In 1995 Julia moved to California where she was appointed Director of the Center for Science and Mathematics Education at Cal State Fullerton where she collaborated with the National Science Resources Center at the Smithsonian Institutions to develop hands-on elementary science programs in Orange County School Districts. Julia retired from full-time work in 2002, continuing part-time work until 2006.
Julia has received many awards and honors for her achievement in education. She was also appointed to numerous boards and committees, such as the Board of Directors of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, the Board of Trustees of Girls’ Incorporated of Orange County, and the Education Opportunity Council, AAAS, Washington DC.
In addition to her professional activities, Julia was also active in community affairs including serving as President of National Organization for Women (NOW), Boston Chapter, and as a member of the National Board of NOW. In 1993 she was appointed by the Governor of Washington State to serve on the Washington State Asia American Affairs Commission.
A message from Julia
First, I want to thank Principal Lisa Moloney and MLC School for nominating me for the 2022 MLC School Alumnae Award. It is such an honour which makes me humble and proud at the same time.
The credit for my enrolment at MLC School belongs to my uncle, Stephen Chang, father of Dr Lionel Chang (and Dr Annabella Chang in the audience) for choosing MLC School for me when my parents and I were living in Hong Kong. I was 13 years old when I traveled with my younger brother on a freighter to Sydney. We were so happy to see Uncle Stephen waiting for us on the dock when we arrived.
Uncle Stephen was my guardian for four years. He and Aunt SuChing provided a home for me and my brother during holidays and long weekends. We became part of their family and were close to my four cousins like brothers and sisters. We kept in touch all these years, visiting each other when we attend conferences or on special occasions in Australia, the U.S. and other parts of the world.
MLC School was an excellent school for me. I loved my Mathematics teachers and my English teacher Miss Stark. It was the first time I enjoyed studying. Being a boarder at MLC School taught me many things, including how to make my bed in less than five minutes. It also taught me how to structure my time and made lifelong friends. Friends such as Julie Davis (Caldwell, 1956), Ruth Williams (Baja, 1956) and Janet Walker (Sutherland, 1956) who attended the MLC School's 40 Year Reunion together with me. After the reunion Ruth, Julie and I traveled to Uluru because we missed our graduation trip to Uluru 40 years ago.
My four years of education at MLC School truly influenced my decision on what I wanted to do with my life and to be an independent thinker. I thank MLC School for the fine education I received.
Again, thank you MLC School for the Alumnae Award of 2022.