Carmen Wong grew up in a small flat in Hong Kong with her parents and sister. Her father worked for the government and her mother, who was a school principal, was a role model for Wong at a young age. At 14 years old, Wong’s parents sent her to a school in the United Kingdom so that she could pursue a higher education and perfect her English language skills.
In the United Kingdom, Wong experienced culture shock but eventually adjusted and discovered an interest in biology. After graduating high school a year early, it was decided that she would go to university in the United States. Wong initially enrolled in a small women’s liberal arts college but, after one trimester, transferred to the University of Minnesota. At Minnesota, Wong worked in a cancer biology research laboratory and also completed a research internship over a summer. It was there that she began to consider the idea of applying to graduate school to pursue a PhD.
After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a degree in biology, Wong was accepted into the PhD program at Stanford. While there, she worked in a cancer biology laboratory and received her doctorate. She then worked in a postdoctoral position at Duke University before moving to Corvallis, Oregon with her husband where they both received jobs at Oregon State University. At the time of this interview, Wong was working as a research associate in the OSU College of Health - School of Biological and Population Health Sciences.