Maya Lin

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, every school day The Cardinal will feature a prominent and historical Asian American or Pacific Islander, living or dead, who has worked toward change, advancement, and/or world peace. Some of them are heroes, and some are unsung heroes, who deserve recognition, and have made a contribution to society.


Kenia Ortiz, Staf Writer

Maya Lin was born on October 5, 1959. Her parents emigrated from China to the U.S., where she was born in Athens, Ohio. Growing up, Lin was less of a social person, instead surrounded by diverse forms of arts and found ease in schooling and nature. Later in life, Lin entered Yale University in New Haven, where she pursued a career in architecture.

Lin’s senior year in college, a class project was assigned and is yet her most recognized work, the design for the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Washington, D.C. Lin first received hate for her vision of the design but, by sticking to her idea, she won a design competition at age 21, she constructed an iconic emblem of the sacrifices driven by American soldiers during the Vietnam War. Other of her memorial projects, like the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama, and the Women’s Table at Yale University, also monumentalize historical events.

Lin held her love for the environment’s nature through her work which usually sermonizes history and environmental problems such as habitat ruins and climate change. Her “What is Missing?” project is a memorial to the mass endangered and extinct species by a science-based artwork. This project revolves around the loss and the world’s dedication to resolving human-made problems.

Maya Lin’s unique work impacts the world by spreading awareness of critical social and environmental issues. She also acquired awards like the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2016, the AIA Honor Award in 1984, and Twenty-five Year Award in 2007. Lin’s hit as an artist and architect inspires individuals to seek careers associated with arts and design. Her work has opened eyes and brought encouragement for individuals to be open-minded about the world surrounding them to form a healthy one together.