Yi-Ching Ong

Director of Service Focus
Email Address: 
Office Location: 
58 Prospect Avenue, Room 301

As the Program Director for Service Focus, I represent the program on campus and in the community and set the strategic agenda for the Service Focus learning experience. Through Service Focus, we hope to challenge students to think carefully and collaboratively about how service can inform their academic studies (and vice versa), and to creatively envision appropriate responses and interventions to complex problems. I see my role and the program’s role as helping to make connections -- amongst people, amongst disciplines, amongst institutions, and amongst societal issues.

I have a long-standing interest in how research and higher education interface with community needs and how public conversation and policy are shaped. Before coming to the Pace Center, I conducted research and teaching in global public health, with a particular focus on understanding social and biological dimensions of vulnerability and resilience to disease. As an associate research scholar and lecturer with Princeton’s Global Health and Health Policy Program for five years, I was continually inspired by the wonderful students in that certificate program and their diverse passions. Prior to that, I was a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at Columbia University. I am a firm believer in the value of interdisciplinary thinking, and this is reflected in my academic path, which has taken me through a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Stanford University, a Master of Philosophy degree in international development studies from Oxford University, and a Bachelor of the Arts degree in biochemical sciences from Harvard University. 

Fun Fact
My family background is Malaysian -- it’s often said that eating is Malaysia’s national sport, and a love of finding new and interesting things to eat or cook is certainly ingrained in me!  I also avidly consume literary fiction, but since my 3-year old daughter was born my reading log is most often picture books (which have a great deal of wonder and wisdom as well).  Now that I’m chasing an active toddler, I also particularly love activities that allow for some rest and restoration -- yoga, music, or exploring the many green spaces near Princeton are favorites.  

Areas of Expertise

  • Advising
  • Curricular design
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration

Office Hours