ThreeSixty Journalism is thrilled to announce the arrival of its leadership team’s newest member, Denise Huang.
Huang, who joins ThreeSixty as engagement manager, graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2016 with a degree in political science, which she pursued because of her interest in the human experience. After working an array of different jobs, including publishing, as a barista, at an immigration legal office and volunteering, Huang received an MA in Political Theory from the University of Chicago in 2019.
“I’m interested in the fundamental questions, in asking what commonalities we have and what makes us tick,” Huang said. “I’ve carried that question with me throughout my career and certainly here.”
Huang is always looking to dig deeper and loves half-baked thoughts, unformed things that appear to contradict each other but incite thought-provoking discussions; she loves being a part of those things, exploring the hazy gray areas of life’s complexities.
After graduation, Huang was initially attracted to the idea of working in academia, but quickly realized that was not her destiny. One major reason why Huang came to that conclusion was that she was more interested in community-based work like outreach and engagement, particularly for the Asian and Asian American communities.
In Chicago, where Huang lived previously to moving to St. Paul in early December, she worked at a nonprofit that engaged and helped victims of gender-based violence.
“My reason for shifting to ThreeSixty was to work with younger people, which was always the most fulfilling aspect of my work,” she said. “Now that I’ve left the classroom, I’m very attracted to opportunities to learn in non-traditional ways like storytelling and talking to people, which is what ThreeSixty does.”
Storytelling is something that Huang herself is familiar with and well versed in, though the kind she has done is very esoteric like writing theory or creative nonfiction, “but such writing is more for private purposes not necessarily journalism,” Huang said.
“I’ve always liked journalism that makes someone uncomfortable and makes them think,” she said. “I’m interested in teaching students how to think and write in that way, in a way that is eye-opening, educational, and provocative.”
Huang discovered ThreeSixty through her partner, who lives in St. Paul and knew about ThreeSixty and its great reputation.
“I heard nothing but enthusiastic perceptions [of ThreeSixty],” she said.
“I scrolled through ThreeSixty’s Twitter and noticed that the kid looked really happy,” Huang said.
She checked out the website, saw there was a job opening and applied.
While at ThreeSixty Huang is hoping to leave an impact on the students’ writing, deepen ThreeSixty’s footprint in the Twin Cities and looking forward to reading students’ stories.
“I’m excited to witness the students’ development as writers and thinkers and their inquisitiveness and seeing that transfer into their personal skills for life,” Huang said.
While growing up in San Francisco, Huang attended top ranked public schools from K-12 that instilled a passion for reading and writing, but she didn’t know how to curate her voice.
“Sometimes we get so obsessed with the form or technicality of writing that we forget about the voice, when we could be developing both simultaneously for people,” Huang said.
“What I love about ThreeSixty is it’s giving students that undivided attention, and the opportunity to be vulnerable, to make mistakes and grow from those mistakes. That’s a very unique cause, you often don’t get those opportunities even as an adult and especially as a youth from a marginalized community. That really attracted me to ThreeSixty,” she said.
Because at the end of the day ThreeSixty is all about the students and guiding their unpolished potential.
“Because we all have curiosity, but we might not know what to do with it,” Huang said.
Huang loves her cat Suhbi, thrifting and furniture shopping, making espresso and trying new restaurants. She also loves to read social and political commentary.
Though Huang has lived on both the West and East Coast she loves the Midwest.