Lan Samantha Chang
Birthplace: Appleton, Wisconsin
The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Chang left Wisconsin at 18 to attend college at Yale University, where—after trying pre-med and pre-law classes—she got her bachelor's degree in East Asian studies. She received a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University before attending the University of Iowa's prestigious Writers' Workshop, where she attained an M.F.A. in 1993. Her books include Hunger: A Novella and Stories and a novel, The Eve of the Spirit Festival. In 2005, Chang was named the fifth director of Iowa Writers' Workshop, succeeding Frank Convoy. She is the first woman and the first Asian American to hold the position.