Hang yue (Jessica) Wong had never been away from home when, at the age of 19, she left her native Hong Kong and traveled to the United States for a college education.
“I wanted to leave my country to see a different side of the world,” she said. “I didn’t know anybody in the U.S. I didn’t have a driver’s license or Social Security number. I just hopped on the plane and set out to explore a new country.”
Jessica chose Iowa State for its high-ranking food science program. She found it easy to make friends on campus, both through the Hong Kong Students’ Association and through her department. She pushed herself to excel academically and to be less shy in her interactions with colleagues.
Following her graduation in 1997, Jessica became a quality specialist with Landlock Seafood in Dallas and then worked as a quality engineer for Dannon Yogurt. Today she’s working in Atlanta as a culinologist/senior food scientist with Naturally Fresh, Inc. There she develops sauces, salad dressings, and marinades for a variety of private labels.
Jessica and her husband, Quentin Mock, have an 8-year-old son, Lofton. The Mocks grow Swiss chard, beets, spinach, broccoli, kale, and other vegetables in an organic backyard garden, and Jessica has a growing interest in alternative Chinese medicine and holistic nutrition.
“More than ever, I realize we are what we eat,” she says. “Food is really part of my soul.”