An introduction to Kathryn Minnick, a.k.a. "Beijing Blues Girl"

About Kathryn Minnick

Kathryn Minnick

I am a lover of language and generally an inquisitive person. I currently live in Gainesville, Florida.


I love to learn and, as a result, have numerous degrees. I am currently a Master's student in Mass Communication in the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida.

Jill of All Trades

I have had a variety of jobs and interests. I am currently a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Florida. I teach a lab in broadcast writing for RTV2100. Formerly, I taught English at Beijing Normal University and at Tsinghua University--China's answer to M.I.T. I have also been vice president of an investment firm in Beijing; an independent consultant; a restaurateur in Beijing; a translator; a freelance writer and editor; an office worker; a sandwich maker-cook; and a waitress.

Citizen of the World (sort of)

I am very interested in foreign countries and cultures. I have traveled to several countries and I lived in China for about 11 years. I returned to the U.S. in 2000. However, I hope to move to Beijing again soon to teach English, write, edit and possibly make videos. I am dismayed about the homogenization of culture and hope that in the rush to improve the world and help people escape poverty, humanity does not lose its cultural variety.

Sister and Daughter

I had the good luck to be adopted as an infant by a loving family. My mother, Mary S. Minnick, died in 1979. My father, Wayne C. Minnick, passed away in 2006. His inquisitiveness, creativity, stoicism and sharpness of intellect are characteristics I strive (but probably fail) to emulate. My sister, Ann Bruce, lives in Tallahassee with her husband, Blakeley. She and Blakeley have helped me in various ways over the years.


I have two great children. My son Michael, is 23 and lives in Beijing. He currently teaches English. In 2006, he was in the top 40 of a Chinese talent show similar to "American Idol." My daughter, Maria, is 19 and hopes to study theatre. She is attending community college part-time. She loves soccer and has played on numerous school and non-school teams.

My Alter Egos

I've had some different names, formally and informally, during my life. Although I don't have a split personality, I assume a slightly different persona when I use each of these names.

Renée Marie Shuster

Renée Marie Shuster is how I started off in life. It's the name I was given by my birth mother. Around 1990, I met her after a long search and a couple nervous years of correspondence. But after meeting her secretly at a Wendy's in Lorain, Ohio (she didn't want her family to know about me), I learned that you "can't go home again"--especially when there was never a home to begin with.

Kathy Minnick

"Kathy" was the name by which I was known most of my life until I went to graduate school in 1981. I threw it over for "Kathryn," which sounded more intellectual and refined. Moving from the diminutive to my formal name unexpectedly created two strata in my memory and emotions: pre- and post-"Kathryn."


Martina--my confirmation name--is a nod to my Catholic upbringing. Since my adoptive parents didn't give me a middle name, I tried to adopt "Martina" as a middle name in junior high, instead of using it only as a ceremonial Church name. I used to think my confirmation name was beautiful and terribly exotic.


I was christened "Minnie" by my second family--the Wilsons of Evanston, Illinois. I lived with them during my senior year of high school. I first became friends with the Wilsons when I invited my new kindergarten friend Mary Jo Wilson to get off the school bus at my house--without her mom's knowledge. My mother finally figured out where Mary Jo lived and returned her to her anxious mother. So began a long friendship between our two families.

Mi Jiarong

Mi Jiarong is my most highly developed alter ego. It and the dimunitive "Lao Mi" are who I am in China. It is the name by which I was known as a student in China and appears on my marriage certificate, with my English name as a legal nicety.

Beijing Blues Girl

Beijing Blues Girl is my occasional screen name. It comes from my musical, "Beijing Blues."