Elaine was born in Texas and grew up in the Maryland suburbs outside of Washington, D.C.  After receiving her B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, she worked for a few years on Wall Street in investment banking and private equity, and spent time living abroad in Taiwan, where she studied Mandarin Chinese full-time.  Prior to returning to school for her graduate studies, she worked at an internet start-up in Washington, D.C., focused on online fundraising for nonprofits and donors. She has recently graduated from a joint-degree program, receiving an M.A. in International Studies from the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania with a focus on East Asian studies, and an MBA from the Wharton School.