Staff Directory 8127999

Laura Yuen

Features columnist | Features columnist
Phone: 612-673-4006

Laura Yuen is a features columnist for the Star Tribune. She explores parenting, gender, family and relationships, with special attention on women and underrepresented communities. With an eye for the human tales within every news story, she calls forth the deeper resonance of a story, to humanize it, and make it universal. She loves opportunities to expand the narrative of what it means to be a person of color in Minnesota.

Before joining the Star Tribune, Yuen spent 13 years at MPR News, most recently as editor of a team of reporters who covered race, class, communities and education. She also reported for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader. Laura lives with her husband and two young sons. But if you met her over an icebreaker, she'd probably tell you about the time her car was struck by lightning.
Recent content from Laura Yuen
Josh Bonde, 23, checked out the results of his perm in the mirror while stylist Trang Nguyen gave him a post-perm trim.

Yuen: The return of the man perm — Gen Z males are seeking a softer, modern wave

A trend fueled by TikTok and Korean pop culture has officially migrated to Minnesota.
Connections offers players 16 words, left, that must be cleanly categorized into four sets of four, right.

Yuen: New word game makes the case for more screen time

Puzzle from the New York Times is already the second-most-played game after Wordle, and it's easy to see why.
Cora Stallcup and Noah Wolfe both went for a return while taking part in a pickleball league game at the Minneapolis Cider Co. in 2021.

Yuen: The rise of the pickleball clique — is the game becoming too exclusive?

The fastest-growing sport in America has been known for its socially inclusive nature. But some say that's changing.
Aggie Gambino, right, helped her 10-year-old daughter, Giada, work on math worksheets at the dining room table in their home in Spring, Texas.

Yuen: Should homework for schoolkids be a thing of the past?

Research shows homework offers little to no academic benefit for elementary school students.
Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson says her activism for safer workplaces will be her legacy.

Yuen: How Minnesota native Gretchen Carlson faced down a giant and propelled the #MeToo movement

Seven years after taking down Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, the former anchor is celebrating a couple of big wins in Washington.
Steve the cat had a synthetic right eye implanted after she lost her old one to an eye disease. She died last month.

Yuen: Remembering Steve, a one-eyed cuddle-kitty who 'ran' her Minneapolis neighborhood

Her obit, stapled to telephone poles, was raw, vulnerable and slightly profane.
September is when employees promise they’ll return to their cubicles, and bosses say that this time they’re serious.

Yuen: To bring workers back, bosses need to do more than demand. They need to lead.

Companies are again trying to revive the office — sometimes by making threats.
Minneapolis chef Lachelle Cunningham took her first hunting trip in May and wants to introduce other Black women to the experience.

Yuen: This Minneapolis chef wants more Black women to give hunting a shot

Lachelle Cunningham's first turkey hunt brought her to tears. She now wants others to have that experience.
Summer in Minnesota comes to a close always too early, leaving some of us with a sense that we’ve missed out on something.

Yuen: When a Minnesota summer ends, I feel FOHMO — the Fear of Having Missed Out

Quick! Can we squeeze in one more trip to the lake or to the State Fair?
Summer is watermelon season. But if you’re buying it at a store, it’s not easy.

Yuen: It's really hard to pick a perfectly ripe watermelon — unless you use these expert tips

If you struggle to pick a tasty watermelon in the store, the problem is not you. But here's some advice.
One day after I celebrated at a cousin’s wedding, left, I checked myself into an ER because I was struggling to walk.

Yuen: What happened when my body failed me and I had no idea why

A healthy 45-year-old, I suddenly lost the ability to walk. My first real medical scare taught me to be my own advocate.
Preschool grad Nakyi Hammons waved to his family as his name was announced at his graduation ceremony.

Yuen: It's like Draft Day at this north Minneapolis pre-K graduation

These kids are about to take their talents to kindergarten.
Riders on Steel Venom, an inverted impulse roller coaster, reach speeds of 68 miles an hour at Valleyfair May, 13, 2016, in Shakopee, Minn.

Yuen: Consider the long-term cost when teens lose the freedom to roam

This summer you may have noticed fewer gaggles of young people roaming the once-popular hangouts.
It’s not uncommon to find plastic curbside bins for trash or compost chewed through by aggressive squirrels.

Yuen: How to protect your organic composting bins from raccoons, squirrels and maggots

Organics recycling may take some trial and error, but defeat is not an option.
Amy Koopman and her son, Eli, 13, played on the swings Tuesday, May 16, 2023, at Sunset Park in Robbinsdale, Minn. Smoke from wildfires in Canada coul

Yuen: Bad air quality in Minnesota is turning precious summer into a bummer

It seems like we're being cheated out of something we desperately count on and even need.
Minneapolis students could have more freedom to use cell phones in class — with their teachers’ approval — under a proposed policy.

Yuen: Cellphones in schools? Minneapolis should look to Florida — yes, Florida — for the answer

If we care about kids, we should help teachers do their job. Minneapolis Public Schools, are you listening?
Claire and Harold DeBerg have turned Glenwood Avenue in Golden Valley a delightfully Minnesotan version of “Where’s Waldo.”

Yuen: This Minnesota mother and son have worn matching outfits nearly every day for years

Dressed head to toe in vibrant colors, the duo is a walking work of art in a staid sea of suburbia.
Dave Annis and his son, both wearing Trans Action Apparel shirts, bump fists during a jam session at their Minnetonka home.

Yuen: These Minnesota-designed tees supporting trans kids grew out of a dad's love

A Minnetonka father wants his son to know there is more kindness than bigotry in this world.
Ed Jenkins created “Keyshawn Solves It,” a kids’ podcast set in north Minneapolis.

Yuen: A PBS Kids podcast teaches families about Juneteenth from north Minneapolis

"Keyshawn Solves It" features local talent, including students from Lucy Craft Laney Elementary School.
Author Connie Wang, left, chose her name in honor of TV news icon Connie Chung, right.

Yuen: Why are there so many Asian Connies? A Minnesota-raised author set out to find the answer

Connie Wang discovered an outsize sisterhood of Connies — namesakes of the iconic Connie Chung.
Minneapolis native Claire Forrest’s new book, “Where You See Yourself,” is about a disabled teen who learns to navigate her way to independence.

Yuen: This Minneapolis author wants us to celebrate and accept disability for what it is

Claire Forrest's new young adult novel is getting rave reviews for its authentic portrayal of disability.
You don’t need to tell a teen they’re up against the powerful design forces of Big Tech. They already know it.

Yuen: Let's empower teens to take control of their screen use

Many Minnesota adolescents know they're up against a powerful foe in social media.
A pontoon boat headed downriver, along the Mississippi River, past Levee Park in Winona, in 2021.

Yuen: With a new pontoon boat, I'm embracing a Minnesota Dream

In her family's bid to become "lake people," our columnist experiences the pain and promise of a new pontoon.
For Martha Ha, a vice president and chief counsel at Medtronic, the story of the lost pork chops is always near the surface of her success.

Yuen: Tale of lost pork chops fueled this leader's journey up Medtronic's executive ranks

What are the stories that your parents have passed on that remind you of the resilience of your roots?
Do you remember what was said at your high school graduation speech? We asked our columnists for the advice they dispensed at theirs.

What we learned from our own high school graduation speeches

Our columnists recalled the advice they dispensed to their peers decades ago. Do they stand by their words?
A bar mitzvah celebrates a young man’s transition into adulthood — and the journey to the ritual.

Yuen: A bar mitzvah marks 'a moment in time, but years in the making'

I wasn't prepared for how moving attending my first bar mitzvah would be.
Women from the Two Mothers healing group, founded by Mary Johnson-Roy, center, pray over her after she was diagnosed with dementia.

Yuen: Her story of forgiveness helped others heal — now they're helping her remember it

Less than two years after she was diagnosed with dementia, Mary Johnson-Roy's memories won't be lost if her community can help it.
At least from a parent’s perspective, does it get any better than when your child is 10?

Yuen: Why 10 is the golden age of childhood

It's a glorious but fleeting year when your kid laughs at your jokes and still thinks you're cool.
Dr. Jody Lulich, pictured with Maud and Libby, circa 1993.

Yuen: Caring for animals helped this University of Minnesota veterinarian heal himself

Our pets give our lives purpose, a truth Jody Lulich knows all too well.
Mary McGreevy founded the TikTok account “Tips From Dead People,” in which she shares her fondness for the memorable obituary.

Yuen: St. Paul TikToker gets obit advice from dead people

Mary McGreevy has built a following by sharing her joy of reading memorable obituaries.
Mothers who lost their children to gun violence gathered in St. Paul at a march and rally in 2021.

Yuen: 3 Minnesota parents on why gun laws need to change now

A viral educator, a mom who fights for her son's memory and a hunting dad call on elected officials to make the country safer for kids.
Yuen: I tried to go plastic-free for a week — here's what I learned

Yuen: I tried to go plastic-free for a week — here's what I learned

Our columnist tried to go without plastic. Is she out of her mind?
Math instruction in many schools builds the foundation for conceptual math before teaching traditional formulas and facts.

Yuen: The kids are doing 'new math,' and maybe that's a good thing

Instead of memorizing, elementary schools are teaching concepts that help kids be problem-solvers.
The Mary Tyler Moore statue held her ever present smile despite the Coronavirus pandemic Saturday on Nicollet Mall.

Yuen: These 10 (real) women from Minnesota deserve their own statues

From Olympic gold medalists to singers and civil rights leaders, women are underrepresented in Minnesota's statues. Let's change that.
Minnesota plays a grounding, healing force in distance runner Kara Goucher’s new memoir, “The Longest Race.”

Yuen: How Olympian Kara Goucher found her voice in wake of abuse

Minnesota plays a grounding, healing force in the American distance runner's new memoir which details years of abuse and indignities in her sport.
A screenshot of a Reddit post from four years ago shows a mannequin sporting TravisMathew’s “Dad Bod” T-shirt in an undisclosed location.

Yuen: Can we make room for men in the body positivity movement?

A mannequin at the Mall of America isn't sending the right message about male body acceptance.
Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan accepted the award for best original screenplay for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

Yuen: Want to tap into your genius? Find yourself a good group

What if more organizations embraced the idea that "genius emerges from the collective"?
A photo of a mail carrier defying winter with his bare calves resonated deeply with Minnesotans everywhere.

Yuen: This picture of Mel the Mailman exudes Minnesota hardiness, but it's not what you think

The mailman in his shorts striding through the snow captures our spring state of mind.
Pickleball players Aanik Lohani and Amrik Donkena are among the growing number of Minnesotans who’ve started to play on professional tours.

Yuen: What's it like to be a professional pickleball player in Minnesota?

There's a more elite faction of athletes in a sport whose popularity is driven by its anyone-can-play accessibility.
Tech-related failures and ultracompetitive signups can leave kids without privilege in the dust.

Yuen: There must be a better way to register your kid for summer camp

Tech-related failures and ultracompetitive signups can leave kids without privilege in the dust.
Seth Snyder, pictured with his two children, learned that his family would not receive life insurance benefits after his wife died by suicide.

Yuen: How families shattered by suicide are cheated out of financial support

A Minneapolis widower is speaking up for a change in state law that would make it easier for survivors of suicide to receive death benefits.
An undocumented mom of two in Apple Valley, who does not have a driver’s license, drove one of her sons to school in January.

Yuen: When undocumented immigrants can drive, their kids can live in dignity, too

The law makes sense from a multitude of angles; one often overlooked segment of the population that wins is children.
Snow-covered vehicles blend in with snow-blanketed Interstate 35W northbound near the Interstate 94 exchange Thursday in Minneapolis.

Yuen: Outsourcing food runs in a snowstorm? Just make sure you tip

Three food delivery workers in Minnesota share what it was like working in last week's storm.
In middle age, we think a girls’ getaway is somehow indulgent. But making time for yourself — and your friends — is good for your heath.

Yuen: If you want to live a healthier life, don't overlook the power of friends

Friendships often take a backseat to other priorities in adulthood, but science shows they're important for well-being.
Archivist Kayla Jackson preserves the stories and artifacts of historic Rondo, once the heart of St. Paul’s Black community.

Yuen: This young St. Paul archivist safeguards the stories of historic Rondo

"These are people's most precious memories, and they're more valuable than money," Kayla Jackson says of the artifacts she preserves.
Excerpt from "Marry Me A Little: A Graphic Memoir" by Rob Kirby

Yuen: In new memoir, St. Paul cartoonist recounts marrying his husband 10 years ago

Rob Kirby's graphic memoir traces his evolution in thinking about the institution of marriage as Minnesota began to allow gay couples to be wed.
Allison and Mike Bell formed a new last name for themselves by mashing up some of the letters from their original surnames.

Yuen: These Minnesota couples created a new last name for 'a name that is ours'

When getting married, newlyweds have yet another option beyond taking one partner's name or combining surnames.
Jeremiah Ellis says the history of “Black Rosies” who worked at the Twin Cities Ordnance Plant during World War II is a story that’s under-told.

Yuen: Historians search for Minnesota's Black 'Rosie the Riveters'

These women helped with the war against fascism while fighting racism at home. They're finally getting their due credit.
Jessica Mager, center, Randi Walz, left, and Michelle Lewis, right, organized West St. Paul residents to voice support for a new mental health facilit

Yuen: Meet the neighbors who said, 'Yes, in my backyard'

A band of suburban women weren't going to let their most vocal neighbors drive away a proposal to build a new mental health facility in their community.
Forgoing a jacket can project an image of being hardy or tough, experts say.

Yuen: Why do kids reject their winter coats? Let's turn to science

The youth resistance to warm clothing is strong.
Ryan Hamilton participates in a skating lesson at the ice arena in New Hope, Minn., on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. People of all ages learn to skate at N

Yuen: What beginning ice skaters can teach us about the joy of learning something new

"I'm gonna get this," a Twin Cities dad said after his third time on ice. What if we all took this approach to trying new things?
Readers like Alison McGhee shared how following a simple personal rule could cascade into a bigger life-changing behavior.

Yuen: Your tiny steps toward positive change are yielding big results

Still going strong with New Year's resolutions? Readers share how they've made life changes stick.
The number of young kids, especially toddlers, who accidentally ate marijuana-laced treats rose sharply over five years.

Yuen: Parents, it's time to safely put away the gummies

After Minnesota legalized hemp-derived products containing THC last summer, the number of cases of kids ingesting cannabis is way up.
Meteorologists and now Minnesota state senators, Nicole Mitchell and Rob Kupec shared a laugh on their first day of business at the state Capitol.

Yuen: Meet the two meteorologists elected to the State Senate

Nicole Mitchell and Rob Kupec bring a certain cachet to the Capitol as well as two strong voices for science.
Experts say you can make a habit stick, in part by starting with a small and sustainable change.

Yuen: New leaf, new year? Don't underestimate the power of small

What if the secret to a better you wasn't about achieving bold feats, but sticking to low-effort habits?
Seth Snyder, left, says the grief over losing his wife, Radhika, is anything but linear for him and their kids, ages 10 and 1.

Columnist Laura Yuen looks back at a year of grief and triumph

As 2023 winds down, here's an update on people featured in some of her most memorable columns.
Keefer Court owner Sunny Kwan, pictured with daughter Michelle, will close the Chinese bakery the family has operated for nearly 40 years.

Yuen: Add grief to joy and mix well when an iconic Chinese bakery closes

The best comfort food makes you feel loved and protected. Keefer Court gave us this for four decades.
This image provided by Judy A. Steiner shows handmade watercolor Christmas tree cards. Handmade holiday cards can be gifts in themselves for both make

Yuen: In our digital age, the tangible holiday card still means something

Why do some of us cling to this old-fashioned annual tradition?
University of Minnesota professors Connie Wanberg, left, and Michelle Duffy, co-authored a study on how work affects divorce. 

Yuen: How does divorce affect how you work? Two U researchers were surprised

While most people reported negative repercussions, about 40% of people navigating divorce said the experience had a positive impact on their work. Here's why.
Developing a “service heart” in your child can start small but develop into bigger and better things over a lifetime.

Yuen: How to teach your kids to volunteer for the right reasons

Service should be about making the community a better place — not a ploy to make our children less entitled.
What does the perfect camp look like for the decision-fatigued, mentally exhausted mom?

Yuen: If weary moms could get the magical summer camp experience they create for their kids

A gift card to the spa is nice, but a true getaway from the treadmill of daily parenting tasks would be divine.
Mary Ann Goens-Bradley and Greg Hanka raced for the pickleball at the Northeast Recreation Center in Minneapolis.

Yuen: Outdoor pickleball nets have come down for the season, but you can still play

Minnesota's pickleball craze has migrated indoors. You can find a court near you — if you know where to look.
Have some of us shed our masks forever?

Yuen: Here's a not-so-novel idea. If you're sick, stay home or wear a mask

Do people coughing and sneezing repeatedly in public not notice everyone around them cringing?
Santa Claus, better known as Allan Siu, will work his biggest gig yet when he visits the Mall of America Dec. 8-11.

Yuen: The Mall of America's first Asian Santa Claus is coming to town

Santa Allan was recruited by none other than Santa Larry, who in 2016 became the mall's first Black Santa.
Yuen: She wasn't traumatized by her abortion, and that's part of the story, too

Yuen: She wasn't traumatized by her abortion, and that's part of the story, too

Comedian Alison Leiby, known for her writing on "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," brings her one-woman show to the Parkway Theater in Minneapolis.
Jeanine Brudenell took care of her husband, saxophonist Pat Mackin, after a life-altering car crash eight years ago. Mackin died in September.

Yuen: Bands celebrate a Minneapolis musician's life that was silenced too early

Saxophonist Pat Mackin died in September, eight years after a drunk driver slammed into him and left him with severe and lasting injuries.
Police officer Craig Elgin’s posts about living with Tourette syndrome run the gamut from heartbreaking to humorous.

Yuen: What's it like to live with Tourette's syndrome? A Minnesota cop explains on TikTok

With his catchphrase "Happy ticcing!" Craig Elgin has built a community where people can find solidarity or better understand the neurological condition.
Research shows that while many kids will learn to read no matter how they’re taught, about half need explicit and direct instruction.

Yuen: The story we've been sold about how kids learn to read

Reporter Emily Hanford of American Public Media sets out to answer why many schools still hew to teaching methods based on theories long disproven by cognitive scientists.
First-time filmmaker Kelsey Peterson reveals her journey to redefine herself after a life-changing accident in “Move Me,” a documentary she direct

Yuen: A dancer who became paralyzed finds balance between hope and acceptance

In her new movie, first-time filmmaker Kelsey Peterson teaches us about the grace of adaptation.
The shacket, a cross between a shirt and a jacket, has become a ubiquitous fashion statement this fall.

Yuen: In defense of the shacket (and other ubiquitous fashion statements)

Why Minnesotans can't get enough of this impractical piece of fall outerwear.
Women were finally allowed to join the all-male University of Minnesota marching band in 1972, but it didn’t come without a fight.

Yuen: 50 years ago, Title IX forced University of Minnesota to allow women into marching band

Female marching band trailblazers, now in their 60s, 70s and 80s, will be honored on the field at Saturday's halftime show.
Club sports and year-round specialization have been trending for the past 20 years. What impact will it have on the early specialist?

Yuen: How early specialization is hurting youth sports

In today's ultracompetitive landscape, starting a new sport at age 10 can feel like it's too late.
Hosts Nick and Vanessa Lachey kick off the third season of “Love Is Blind.”

Yuen: Why I don't care for reality TV but unapologetically watch 'Love Is Blind'

No matter how dysfunctional our own relationships are, we realize they're not nearly as messed up as they could be.
Aa Tiko’ Rujux-Xicay and mom Laurie Stern explore issues of belonging, privilege, race and class in the podcast series “All Relative: Defining Die

Yuen: Mom and son explore the complexities of international adoption

Their new podcast asks the question: Should you adopt a baby from another country just because you can?
Nora Reichardt, a Des Moines TV news reporter from Minnesota, came out last week on-air as a transgender woman.

'I'm here, I'm happy': TV reporter from Minnesota comes out as transgender

Nora Reichardt, a graduate of Buffalo High School, "wasn't either asking for permission, nor begging for forgiveness," says mentor Jana Shortal of KARE 11.