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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
Taylor Brorby’s new memoir is winning accolades for his depiction of a kind of rural America that crushes its most vulnerable inhabitants.

Yuen: A memoir of rural America 'where the gay kid stays alive'

Author Taylor Brorby says stories are gateways that can show us another way to live.
Maybe Minnesotans were early adopters of quiet quitting. We just didn’t have a name for it.

Yuen: The problem with #QuietQuitting, our latest made-up workplace trend

Doing everything your job asks of you is not quitting.
Community members bowed their heads during a vigil at the Say Their Names Cemetery on the second anniversary of George Floyd’s murder last May in Mi

Yuen: The fallacy of colorblind kids, the damage of racial silence

Talking about race won't make your kids racist.
Christina Erickson, who chairs Augsburg University’s social work department, is the author of “Spanked: How Hitting Our Children Is Harming Oursel

Yuen: What does spanking do to kids? The case against hitting is settled

Were you "spanked and turned out fine"? An Augsburg professor says that's a "dangerous narrative."
Matt Birk is refreshingly transparent about where he stands on women, our bodies, and anyone who disagrees with him.

Yuen: Believe Matt Birk when he shows you who he is

Has he not considered developing thicker skin, or at the very least, how to mute people on Twitter?
Twins and dormmates Emily and Courtney Goude start school this fall at the College of St. Benedict, months after becoming homeless. 

Yuen: Homeless no more, these Minnesota twins are now starting college

The start of the school year always carries the whiff of possibility. But for Emily and Courtney Goude, it represents something so promising that you almost ache for it.
Go ahead, take that PTO. Just tread carefully firing up your email on your first day back.

Yuen: A (mostly) satirical peek into my inbox after a week of PTO

Thanks in advance for your prompt response so we can get the ball rolling going forward.
A lot of grown-ups don’t understand the complexity of today’s social media landscape, says Harvard researcher Emily Weinstein.

Yuen: Why the 6 things you tell your teen about screen time may be missing the mark

"Just shut off your phone" isn't as easy as it sounds in today's social media landscape.
Nathaniel Khaliq and his wife, Vicky Davis, of St. Paul held a photo of Khaliq’s grandfather being taken out of his Rondo home in handcuffs.

Yuen: Black families have been getting away to this Minnesota lake for nearly 100 years

One St. Paul couple are grateful for elders who nudged them to purchase a lake home Up North nearly 40 years ago.
Nisha Botchwey, dean of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, has studied how our environment shapes our choices and l

Yuen: New U of M dean learned to swim, and inspires the next generation to jump in

Nisha Botchwey, dean of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, is a triathlete who took her first swim lessons in her 40s.
Suitcases are seen uncollected at Heathrow’s Terminal Three baggage reclaim, west of London on July 8, 2022.

Yuen: How to travel with just a carry-on — and a few tips if you can't

Frequent fliers weigh in on how to pack lightly to avoid this summer's travel nightmare.
Charlie Berens is performing before capacity crowds across the country as part of his Midwest Survival Guide Tour.

Yuen: Viral comedian Charlie Berens wants us to laugh together

Beneath his shtick on Midwestern culture lies a message of hope and acceptance.
Parents should learn the difference between supportive sideline behavior and the problematic kind.

Yuen: Why we all need to chill out at our kids' sporting events

More than 6,000 soccer parents in Minnesota have taken a webinar educating them on proper sideline etiquette — and it's not just the hostile parent who's ruining the game.
Mary Taris, a former teacher, created Strive Community Publishing and Bookstore to elevate books in which children of color could see themselves in th

Yuen: The hero of this story is a woman who launched Minneapolis' newest Black-owned bookstore

"I used to think books saved me. Now I think books let me down," said the founder of Strive Community Publishing.
Your go-to karaoke tune can say a lot about you.

Yuen: What your go-to karaoke song says about you

If you had just one track to sing, what would it be and why?
Little moments are important — and for some families, they’re fading from daily life.

Yuen: Let's add 'revenge overscheduling' to the 2022 lexicon

Has COVID taught us nothing about the beauty of slowing down?
Some people are more attractive to mosquitoes because of the amounts of carbon dioxide they emit or the natural scents they carry.

Yuen: The truth about mosquitoes — and what you may be doing wrong

What works — and what doesn't — to protect yourself from this summer's onslaught.
Fury is the appropriate response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, writes columnist Laura Yuen.

Yuen: Yes, we're actually going back to a shameful past

Elements of a terrifying, pre-Roe era are about to become our future.
At their August 2013 wedding, Peter Schmitt and Katie Jones of Minneapolis held the German name tags Jones made for them after they met at Concordia L

Yuen: Taking your husband's last name doesn't need to be 'til death do you part

Some Minnesota women — and men — say their married names never felt quite like them.
After losing his wife, Gabriele, in 2019, Justin Grunewald is learning what it means to walk in grief, and even find love again.

Yuen: After devastating loss, Justin Grunewald walks in grief and finds love again

His wife, Gabriele Grunewald, an elite runner, died three years ago of a rare cancer.
Clockwise from left, Jessica Griffith, Michelle Garrod, Julie Sell and Brenda Pfahnl will be among the oldest in their class to cross the stage at the

Yuen: How the 'Golden Girls' of law school found friendship for life

After being a collective safety net for one another, four Minnesota women in their 50s and 60s are graduating together.
Seiki Oshiro, 94, created a registry containing more than 8,000 names of veterans who served in the Military Intelligence Service during World War II.

Yuen: At 94, vet preserves history of WWII linguists trained in Minnesota

Eighty years ago this month, a covert military language school was established in Savage, drawing Japanese American soldiers.
Mourners visited a memorial outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, to honor the victims killed in the school shooting.

Yuen: Dear kid — If I were honest, this is what I'd tell you about how to respond to a gunman in your school

To be a parent in America today is to assure you that your school is safe — and pray that fate or a higher power will allow us to make good on our promise.
Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan is photographed at the State Capitol.

Yuen: Peggy Flanagan's Native-designed fashion choices make statement about power, identity

The lieutenant governor explains why she shows up to work in ribbon skirts and dangly earrings "beaded from love."
How might we as a society help parents who want to breastfeed, without shaming or judging those who can’t or choose not to?

Yuen: If you really want more babies to be breastfed, here's what you can do

Breastfeeding is a personal choice — compounded by a number of societal factors.
Co-captain Moua Tia Xiong, gesturing to crowd, helped form the boys’ volleyball team at Como Park Senior High School in St. Paul.

Yuen: Why boys' volleyball 'feels like home' for a new generation of Minnesota players

Sometimes the answer to creating more diverse and welcoming spaces is right in front of us, if we listen.
Star Tribune columnist Laura Yuen, left, and senior audience editor Nancy Yang have worked together on and off for the past 18 years. At each place th

Yuen: There's a burden in being confused for The Other Asian. Just ask my work doppelgänger

Constantly being mistaken for someone else makes you wonder if our praise is warranted and if our actual achievements are seen.
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.
Canadian-born writer and entrepreneur Eliza Reid became the First Lady of Iceland in 2016.

Yuen: The first lady of this Nordic country can tell you why her adopted homeland leads in gender equality

Eliza Reid's adopted homeland consistently tops the charts as the best place to be a woman.
Former state Rep. Erin Maye Quade, who ran for lieutenant governor in 2018, withdrew from her local DFL endorsing convention in April because she was

Yuen: This Mother's Day, envision a Legislature that welcomed more moms to public service

A State Senate candidate went into literal labor, but the endorsing convention went on without her.
Kids’ birthday parties are back after a pandemic pause. But what should you do if the invitation says “no gifts”?

Yuen: Navigating a 'no gifts' kids' birthday party should be a no-brainer

Why do people insist on bringing presents when the invitation clearly tells them not to?
A microblading artist fills up the shape of an eyebrow with pigment as part of this semi-permanent makeup procedure.

Yuen: Why I embraced the Zoom beauty boom and got my new brows

Find yourself a girlfriend who shares her beauty secrets with you.
Gwen Cinqeumani, 17, right, always wanted to know the identity of the woman who saved her life with a bone marrow transplant. She got to finally hug h

Yuen: N.Y. teen meets Minneapolis teacher who saved her life with bone marrow donation

Something that cost "so little" meant so much to a girl fighting for her life.
Imam Mohamed Omar, right, is still haunted by the 2017 bombing of his mosque but has decided to forgive two men who carried out the attack.

Yuen: How a Minnesota imam came to forgive two men who bombed his mosque

Many of us can't let go of bitterness even toward loved ones for far lesser transgressions. A letter from one of the bombers cemented the conviction inside of Mohamed Omar.
Former Minnesota Vikings center Matt Birk will be Scott Jensen’s running mate in his bid to unseat DFL Gov. Tim Walz in November.

Yuen: How Matt Birk's rant against sex ed convinced me it absolutely belongs in elementary schools

A Twin Cities suburban school district explains why it's teaching touch, decision-making and anatomy to kids as young as 5.
Vitality Roasting’s Amanda Pardi, left, and Keli Gilbertson, VP of operations, work the morning coffee rush in Minneapolis, Minn., on Friday, April

Yuen: Can the coffee shop perk up downtown Minneapolis?

If coffeehouses are the lifeblood of the city's core, we may have found downtown's pulse again.
Mental health experts say the first step in recognizing possible mental illness in your children is to know their habits and patterns — to spot when

Yuen: Why students are taking mental health days off from school — and how to make the most of them

Minnesota law doesn't oblige districts to excuse student absences for the occasional day off to reset and recharge. But the idea is catching on across the country.
A possum had a prime perch at a Philadelphia Phillies spring training practice in 2014 in Clearwater, Fla.

Yuen: How I learned to make peace with the possums in my grill

Columnist Laura Yuen is doing her best to appreciate this maligned marsupial and relative newcomer to the Twin Cities.
GPS is a godsend, but it’s definitely making some of us dumber.

Yuen: The science of supernavigation — and of being hopelessly, forever lost

A new book explores the human ability to make mental maps, and why some people just can't do it.
Signs of a Minnesota spring abound with more walkers eager to get outside. People embraced the warm weather along the Stone Arch Bridge in March 2020.

Yuen: The top 13 signs that spring has arrived in Minnesota

It's the most wonderful time of the year.
Andrij and Mark Parekh are raising awareness about the plight in Ukraine. This photo, taken in 2020 at the Ukrainian State Museum of the Great Patriot

Yuen: Minnesota-raised 'Succession' director and his brother plead for help for Ukraine

Andrij and Mark Parekh are raising awareness about the humanitarian crisis in their family's homeland after Mark's dramatic voyage out of the country.
Organizer Anthea Yur gathered Asian American women in a circle and read their signs as they gathered on March 18, 2021, at Levin Park in Minneapolis i

Yuen: One year after Atlanta killings, Asian American women are still being dehumanized

The Stop AAPI Hate organization has tracked more than 6,270 hate incidents in 2021 against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. That's up 35% from the previous year. Women were the targets in 62% of the reports.
The two-year mark since many American businesses sent their office workers home is approaching, and some antsy executives have delivered a long-delaye

Yuen: Anxious about going back to work? First relearn the art of talking to humans

Returning to the office can be a source of trepidation for many workers. Here's what you can do.
Salon owner Lenora Warfield re-twisted Tamera Johnson’s locks at Extreme Measures Hair Design in Fridley. The Minnesota House recently passed a bill

Yuen: A bill to ban hair discrimination has wide bipartisan support, but will it pass?

This measure requires no money or heavy lifts — just clarification in our state law that hair texture and styles such as braids, locks and twists are traits associated with race — and therefore should never be the basis of unfair treatment.
In the winter, as afternoons start to fade, you might notice lines of crows flying towards a central roosting location for the night. This 2013 photo

Yuen: Why do crows suddenly appear? A legion of urban fans appreciate this winter phenomenon

The fascination around giant gatherings of crows seems to buck the conventional wisdom that most people despise them.
Mohamed Abdi Mohamed, right, stands for a portrait with his mentor Abdi Bile, the most decorated athlete in Somalia’s history. Bile, who directs a r

Yuen: Somali American running star Abdi Bile is a world-champion mentor

The friendship between a former Olympian and the college kid he took under his wing shows the power of mentoring — to make both individuals' lives all the richer.
Author Ayaan Adan has written a book compiling the stories of 14 Somali Minnesota women told in the first person.

Yuen: In new book, 'daughters' of a legendary Somali queen are shown in their complexity

A St. Paul writer compiled the stories of 14 Somali Minnesota women to illustrate the breadth of their experiences — and their humanity.
Reporter Eva Andersen has been speaking up about a viral hoax targeting female TV news reporters after she was on the receiving end of a vulgar phrase

Yuen: KARE reporter speaks up about receiving vulgar slur from a Minnesota man

Eva Andersen was interviewing a group of men when one dropped all-too-familiar sexual obscenities on her.
Dr. LaPrincess Brewer, left, a preventive cardiologist at Mayo Clinic, explains heart health to community member Jackie Johnson.

Yuen: Meet the Mayo cardiologist who's improving heart health in African American communities

Dr. LaPrincess Brewer has converted skeptics into cheerleaders as she develops faith-based interventions to prevent cardiovascular disease.
Staying the course in an unhealthy relationship might seem unacceptable, and yet divorce can be excruciating and have lasting consequences on children

Yuen: Considering divorce? A new kind of therapy may help couples decide

Two University of Minnesota professors pioneered a short-term counseling approach to help couples determine if splitting up is the right path for them.
Lisa Cotton shines a pair of boots in her downtown Minneapolis shoeshine stand. Her last day was Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022 — the 31st anniversary of her

Yuen: Downtown Minneapolis loses some sparkle as veteran shoe shiner hangs up her brushes

During her 31 years on the job, Lisa Cotton experienced the best and worst of humanity — sometimes on the same day.
Yuen: Show me your Wordle score, and I'll show you who you are

Yuen: Show me your Wordle score, and I'll show you who you are

Here's my horoscope reading for every kind of Wordle player out there.
UyenThi Tran Myhre saved a pair of red envelopes gifted to her and her husband, Kyle, from her mother in 2017.

Yuen: From Zoom to Venmo, Minnesotans make the most of another pandemic Lunar New Year

Six ways to get your Year of the Tiger off to a good start.
Amalia Harder, 7, worked on her homework while her parents made dinner at their home in Chicago on Jan. 4, 2022.

Yuen: A working mom's anthem to another round of quarantine

Hello, lockdown, my old friend./Here's a song that I have penned.
Kristy Wesson and Margie Solomon of the National Council of Jewish Women Minnesota and student Elif Ozturk deliver menstrual products to Hopkins High

Yuen: Free tampons and pads in school? That's as radical as free toilet paper and hand soap

Students and community advocates are pushing for a new bill that would ensure public school restrooms are stocked with free menstrual products.
A cross-country skier embraced a fresh coating of snow and solitude in the city despite the gusty winds and below zero wind chill on Jan. 5, 2022 at t

Yuen: How the Norwegian concept of 'friluftsliv' can get us through the dark time

If 2021 was the year we discovered snow pants, 2022 could be the year we go all in.
Scott Shive, left, with husband Marc Roland, held up a cell phone photo of their impromptu wedding in Lexington, Ky. On that day in June 26, 2015, a d

Yuen: How I learned to be an ally

Someone showed me a kindness nearly two decades ago, when I needed it most. All these years, I had never let him know how much that single display of decency stuck with me. It was time to fix that.
Mallgoers exit the Mall of America after an active shooter situation closed down the mall Friday, Dec. 31, 2021. Two people were shot and wounded foll

Yuen: For one mom and Army veteran, MOA's handling of shooting was a 'failure'

Samantha Pree-Stinson is proud of how her 15-year-old son remained calm during a lockdown, but faults the Mall of America for its haphazard response.
I never want to go back to office work as we knew it. But I do miss the human interaction.

Yuen: I started a new job in the pandemic. Will I ever get to meet my co-workers?

This month was supposed to be when a lot of us would head back to the office. Omicron has pushed back many of those return dates.
I’m coming for you, 2022.

Yuen: Start the year with a clean slate, high hopes and a magical daily planner

The shame of unfinished business will melt away if you just find the paper planner that's right for you.
Want a low-stress new year’s resolution? Start by vowing to know what day it is.

Want to make a New Year's promise you can keep? Try these 11 Low Effort Resolutions

Need an emotional boost as we head into what could be another tough year? Make a resolution you know you can achieve.
TJ Therrien of Blaine produces a TikTok video about how kids use Dustbusters according to their birth order. Therrien started making the videos as a f

Yuen: How a Minnesota TikTok dad found our funny bones through birth order

TJ Therrien has built an entire shtick from the classic stereotypes of how the youngest, middle and oldest children behave.
Comedian Lizz Winstead, left, holds her portrait made by crop artist Christy Klancher in downtown Minneapolis. The two creatives first met six years a

Yuen: Lizz Winstead finds a friend in St. Paul crop artist

"The Daily Show" co-creator says there is no greater honor for a Minnesotan than to have her likeness immortalized in seeds.
Seth Snyder feeds his 8-month-old son with donated breastmilk in their Minneapolis home. “It’s like I’m getting an act of love, often from a str

Yuen: After the postpartum death of Minneapolis doctor, it takes village to feed her son

Neighbors on one tightly woven block, still deep in their grief, can't help but smile when they refer to the donations as Project Milky Way.
Students at The Next Step Transition Program in North St. Paul participate in an improv game called “Taxicab.” The class is led by MNprov, a nonpr

Yuen: What improv can teach us about living with uncertainty

"You never know what's around the next corner, which is a lot like life," a young man with Asperger's told me.
Millions of adults have ADHD. In childhood, the condition is often overlooked in girls.

Yuen: Diving into my son's ADHD diagnosis allowed me to see my own struggles

As a 44-year-old mom coming to terms with my own ADHD-like symptoms, I am experiencing a kind of clarity I wish I'd had decades earlier.
A student learns at a distance on a tablet at Tierra Encantada, a Spanish-immersion day care and preschool, in October 2020.

Yuen: Back-to-back quarantine? Welcome to the world we live in

I had just emerged from COVID isolation with one child, only to learn I'd have to do it again with a second kid.
A pileated woodpecker stands on a branch looking for food.

Yuen: A whopper of a woodpecker tale for the ages

A Plymouth woman said her unwelcome visitor cost her $100,000.
Rose McGee, founder of Sweet Potato Comfort Pie, says this holiday season “gratitude is my intentionality.”

Yuen: How to switch up your holiday gift-giving this year

Supply-chain worries got you down? Here's how some Minnesotans are making shopping more mindful.
Janssen Hang is co-founder of the Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA).

Yuen: Giving thanks for the produce on our table — and the Hmong farmers who grew it

"A historical moment" is giving a brother and sister extra reason to be grateful just in time for Thanksgiving and the Hmong New Year.
Women still do most of the housework even though they make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce.

Yuen: Housework is hindering the gender revolution

Women shouldn't feel the need to be the "picker-uppers."
Harriet Reimers, 7, points out where she wants her shot with RN Abdirahman Hassan before she got her first COVID-19 vaccination at Cityview Community

Yuen: A shot toward normalcy for kids of the COVID generation

COVID-19 has humbled us all — even as many of us head into this next hopeful chapter of inoculating our young children from the disease.
Tom Rademacher is author of the book “Raising Ollie: How My Nonbinary Art-Nerd Kid Changed (Nearly) Everything I Know.”

Yuen: A Minnesota Teacher of the Year on seeing his nonbinary kid for who they are

Getting his child's pronouns right took time and practice.
In this photo from 2019, a downy woodpecker was perched in the snow while taking a break from feeding in Robbinsdale.

Yuen: Staying strong in the face of an unrelenting woodpecker

I have survived nearly 20 months of a pandemic and the depths of distance-learning despair. As God as my witness, this bird is not going to take me down.
Paurvi Bhatt shared a moment with her mother, Rekha, in the living room of their Plymouth home. Bhatt recently went on paid leave from her company to

Yuen: Keeping women at work as they care for their aging parents

COVID-19 has only widened the caregiving chasm across gender.