I sit down with Lina Chang in her sunny sitting room, nestled in Golden, Colorado. The room is filled with flowering plants she has nurtured and art she has painted hang on the walls.
Lina was born in Hong Kong, but later moved to Macao. She studied in Taiwan until graduating from college, then went to graduate school in the United States to study Bio Chemistry. She met her husband, T.C., who is from Shanghai, at Utah State University, where she received her Master’s Degree.
Bio Chemist, Dancer, painter, Lina Chang
After moving to Cincinnati and having two children, Lina began working for the Environmental Protection Agency. Her job varied based on what the priorities of the administration in power at the time. Over her career, she worked on soil remediation and water testing, including the effects birth control pills had on water quality and fish. “Whatever they asked me to do I did it and I did a good job for 30 years.”
While still working, Chang took up painting and ballroom dancing. “I had a car accident about 20 years ago,” she says. “I broke five ribs. I broke my hip. I had to stay home with nothing to do, so I took up painting. I needed some exercise, so I took up ballroom dancing.”
“I taught myself how to paint after my family sent me a book,” Chang adds. “My brother and sister are such good painters. My father, too. So, I guess it’s in the genes.”
Chang’s ballroom dancing teacher, from Italy, became her dancing partner, teaching her international style. She talks about how she started. “At first, slowly, you learn how to move your body, very simple dancing steps. Then later on he (husband T.C.) liked it and I liked it.”
“I was doing so much intralaboratory research (with the EPA),” says Chang. “Painting and dancing are very beautiful. Taking dance lessons once or twice a week, we had freedom and could enjoy and relax.” That freedom eventually earned Chang and her partner a competition win in the North American Championship.