Born in China, Sal Wanying Fu and their parents arrived in the United States when Sal was one. Growing up in the Bay Area, Sal watched their parents run the local Chinese school on weekends to provide educational enrichment programs and a gathering space for recent Chinese immigrants. As a result, Sal grew up with a deep love for libraries and language, and a deep gratitude for the many people and communities that have supported their journey as an astrophysicist.
When they first entered Pomona College, Sal was initially undecided between pursuing a major in English or physics. The supportive community built by mentors and students in the physics department ultimately inspired Sal to pursue a physics major, and created a learning environment where Sal experienced the freedom to explore and cultivate their intellectual interests.
As an undergraduate, Sal completed multiple near-field cosmology research projects with Dr. Josh Simon at the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena. Their research culminated in two first-author publications, multiple presentations at national conferences, the Barry Goldwater scholarship, and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. As a current astrophysics PhD student at University of California, Berkeley, advised by Professor Dan Weisz, Sal continues to work with multi-national research collaborations to investigate the physics of the very first stars, the formation of the very first galaxies, and the nature of the dark matter particle.