When asked how she first became interested in US-China relations, Thompson answered, “Growing up in the DC area, I focused on politics early on.” To no surprise, Thompson has been actively involved in China-related projects in the US government, as she has worked at the US House of Representatives as a Foreign Affairs Committee Graduate Fellow and at the US Department of State Bureau of East Asian Pacific Affairs.
She aligns her vision with such work, as she “[has] been struck with the incredible dedication and skill of U.S. diplomats and representatives” since “they are able to advance American interests while balancing both our domestic political priorities and the delicate position the Chinese government is often in.”
Beyond the political workings in Washington DC, Thompson has developed a personal interaction with China in various layers. First is by studying in three different nations—Stanford University in the US, Peking University in China, and the London School of Economics in the United Kingdom, but about China in all three places. She believes this global exposure allows her to be “a better student of foreign policy and now practitioner.”
She was also personally engaged with China through her first-hand experience in the Rural Education Action Project. Thompson notes that being in Beijing and the chance to volunteer in rural villages allowed her to “understand the perspective of the average Chinese citizen and… contextualize many of the decisions the Chinese government is making.” Through exposing herself to Chinese culture by dancing with minority grannies in Qinghai, hiking the Tiger Leaping Gorge, and mingling with the Chinese public on the subway, Thompson was able to better connect with China.
Pulling these political and personal aspects together, Thompson ultimately wishes “to help focus the foreign policy dialogue on China” as she believes US-China relations is critical to the future of the US to depend heavily on China as China serves as an American ally in America and will contribute to “rebuilding [American] military and standing up for [American] values in the region.