Chardonnay Needler

Chardonnay Needler pulls heartstrings (and tugs on cello strings), uncovering lived histories and evolving language. She showcases people’s innovative insights to make a better world.

Needler enjoys learning foreign languages and reading original versions of foreign literature. She is a rising Junior at the University of Pennsylvania, studying International Relations and Visual Studies with a minor in music. She is a singer in the nation’s first and oldest Chinese-language a cappella group, PennYo.

She is a copyright manager and translator at the literary magazine, Doublespeak and has written for The Daily Pennsylvanian. Needler received the Superior Award from National Scholastic Press Association and an award from Columbia Student Press Association for her video voice-overs. She produced a mini-documentary on the Rwandan Genocide, using her French to invite a Catholic Priest to open up about his story, and crafted case studies for a UNICEF report on Chinese social media.

Impassioned by international unity, Needler served as an archival historian, student researcher, and interviewer for a podcast project on South African jazz and Apartheid-era politics. Her interviews and research of activists including Nduduzo Makhathini will be published in a book scheduled for a Spring 2021 release.

As an associate at Normal>Next, she is directly involved in the development of a music museum, a civic corp, and writing a book on readying young leaders for the future.

Needler is contagiously curious, constantly crafting stories out of seemingly mundane events. Her personal philosophy comes from a lyric out of Seven Nation Army, “Every single one’s got a story to tell.” She sees the world as interconnected and tries to look for new modes of thinking, music, and life.