Maya Lin

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Maya Lin

Jessica Sanchez, Staff Writer

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Maya Ying Lin was born in Athens, Ohio on October 5, 1959. Lin is an American architect, designer and a environmentalist. Her parents immigrated from their homeland China in 1948, a year before the communist took over. She attended Yale where studied architecture and sculpture; she graduated in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree.

When Lin was twenty one years old, she entered a competition to honor the soldiers who served and died in the Vietnam War. Her design won beating about 1,400 submissions; the design was completed in October 1982. Instead of enjoying Lin’s design, many people disliked it. People thought the design was non-traditional for a war memorial. Some also found the design controversial due to her Asian ethnicity and her lack of professional experience. Lin received numerous messages of hate after her ethnicity was revealed; Ross Perot, who failed his bid for president, called her an “egg roll” after knowing her ethnicity.

Maya Lin has received a great amount of recognition for her talent. In 1987, Lin was among the youngest to be awarded an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts by Yale. In 1994, she was the subject of Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision. In her address that she gave at Juniata College in Huntington, Pennsylvania, she said “My work originates from a simple desire to make people aware of their surroundings and this can include not just the physical but the psychological world that we live in.”

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