Cicia was raised by immigrant Chinese parents, an experience that helped her to understand both struggle and hope. Her parents planned two decades ago to immigrate to and gain citizenship in the United States, in search of the hope promised by democracy and the American Dream. But experiencing the continual social and economic disempowerment of her family and peers of color, she began to realize the illusion of equal opportunity. She studied economics and political-economic philosophy at Wellesley College, and was eventually radicalized by a variety of feminist professors. She was particularly inspired by activists of faith who worked for economic, racial, and gender justice. During her time at Wellesley, she organized faith communities around transportation rights and issues of inclusion, and was deeply committed to community-building. She directed the first TEDxWellesleyCollege, co-founded a design collaborative, and spent a year as a Life Together Fellow in the Episcopal Service Corps, developing her organizing skills and deepening her spiritual practices.