From the Court to the Canvas: Min Jie Teh Finds Her Passions at Trinity

Min Jie Teh had no plans on playing squash in college, nor did she expect her artistic interests to take her very far. Now, Teh boasts a 43-8 career record for Trinity squash and is pursuing her artistic hobbies through the school’s studio art program––all while pursuing a degree in computer science.

“I initially applied to somewhere else,” she said, “I didn’t want to play squash.” For Teh, a native of Klang, Malaysia, and one of the country’s top-rated pros, squash took a back seat in her selection of higher education. Teh fell out of love with the game and found herself not enjoying the sport after a long slump in high school. That soon changed after Elroy Leong, the brother of Yale Associate Head Coach Lynn Leong––a Trinity squash alumnus––connected her to Trinity Women’s Squash Head Coach Wendy Bartlett.

“I like to draw…but I wouldn’t call myself an artist,” Teh said laughingly. Though she prefers the title of “amateur artist,” Teh has been drawing since she was very young. She credits her mother, currently a teacher in Malaysia, with sparking her interest in visual arts. Because of her mother’s passion for artistic creation, Teh has had her sights set on developing her own creative skills through Trinity’s curriculum­­. Even as a computer science major, Teh made sure to spare time in her schedule for a sculpting class––an area of visual art she is eager to learn about. Currently, Teh’s favorite original piece of art is an intaglio print––a printmaking technique where grooves are created in an image and then submerged in ink––made in Professor Robert Kirschbaum’s printmaking workshop. She adds she has not officially named the piece yet, but refers to it as “Hourglass.”

She is also quick to acknowledge the differences between her liberal arts education at Trinity, and the schooling experience she had in Malaysia. “[Trinity] is very different from the education system we have back home,” Teh recalls, “you just focus on one subject and only that…it’s not very flexible.” She appreciates the freedom to select her courses as she wishes, and is grateful for the various students that she shares her classes with. Teh mentions that she has shared classrooms with “tech wizards” as well as fellow artists, providing her with a multitude of perspectives and learning opportunities.

Teh is keen on securing a job upon her graduation from Trinity, but is determined to stay sharp on the squash hardwood. In addition to “definitely” playing squash, she yearns for a job opportunity that goes beyond the monotonous nine-to-five that many recent graduates find themselves in. She envisions herself combining a career in marketing with her entrepreneurial aspirations, most notably aiming for a internship in a design firm.

According to Bartlett, Teh’s skillful artwork is no secret, and neither is her squash potential. In fact, Teh’s passion for visual art may be boosting her on-court performances. Teh, who came in as a shy and quiet first-year, has grown into a dominant and self-assured player. “She’s become more assertive,” said Bartlett, “she’s more aggressive on the court.” Bartlett has her expectations set high for Teh, sharing that she would like to see the Bantam junior reach her squash potential, while also becoming successful in “finding herself.” Needless to say, Teh––now a two-year starter–– has matched her coach’s praise and promise so far, improving her 16-3 year in 2017-2018, to 19-3 in 2018-2019. This winter, Teh has become Trinity's No. 1 player, meaning she plays against everyone else's best player as well. In this extremely tough spot, Teh is 11-3 and recently helped the Bantams win their 14th-straight NESCAC Championship.