Jennifer Tang's parents are survivors of the Cambodian genocide. Growing up with those stories Jennifer had a lot of questions about how societies and government could fall apart like that. She always asked those questions, and she never found satisfactory answers. But that curiosity is what led her to start getting involved in public service.
Before Jennifer moved to Monterey Park at age 10, she lived in an apartment where her neighbor got shot in their driveway. And when her family moved to Monterey Park, she thought, 'oh my goodness, my life looks like a TV show now.' The opportunity to grow up in Monterey Park meant that she had a great education and was able to pursue her hopes and dreams.
When Jennifer was 21 years old, she went to Cambodia by herself to be a volunteer teacher. After that experience she decided that that is what she was going to do as a career. It made the most sense to her, both for the type of work that she wanted to do in her life and the type of impact that she wanted to have. During her time in Cambodia she taught four hours a day. Her youngest student was 15 years old and the oldest student was 65. The work that she was doing was directly impacting their economic prosperity because if they could speak English, they had more access to resources and jobs. The results were tangible. That experience is what has spurred everything else she has done since.