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RowenaHer hair is shorter but Rowena Li is still unusually tall for a Chinese woman. My 5’9″ former intern is back at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism after four months studying abroad in France. While grabbing a quick lunch together last week, we had no shortage of things to talk about and catch up on. Has it really been six months since I blogged about her leaving WGN?

Rowena seems ready to conquer the world. And with her skills set and intellect, the world is likely her oyster. She remains one of the sharpest interns I’ve ever worked with. I regret the feelings of dread I had after agreeing to host her for a summer internship sponsored by the Asian American Journalists Association.

In wrapping up her studies at Northwestern, Rowena is taking a statistics course in which she claims the work is “literally fourth grade math”. But she’s quite enthused about diving further into investigative journalism with her involvement with the Medill Innocence Project this semester.

Rowena is heading to Asia in March because she won a lucrative grant to document a unique situation in a tiny and remote village in far northeastern China. An obscure language and culture are about to die out with a final generation.

On the day we had agreed to meet for lunch, we had left the location up in the air since I had no idea where my news assignment would be that morning. I’m certain Rowena was relieved I offered to pick her up at the Addison El stop so she wouldn’t have to come all the way in to WGN. Not because she’s a poor college student who didn’t want to take the bus or pay for a cab. She is still a coulrophobic. Visiting the TV home of Bozo causes anxiety due to Rowena’s fear of clowns. However, she seems to have no fear of the TV news business.