Yuri was born in North Carolina, a southern state in the U.S., but grew up in New Jersey, about thirty minutes away from New York City. She received a perfect SAT verbal score and attended Duke University, which was ranked 5th best university alongside Stanford according to U.S. News and World Report. She graduated magna cum laude with a double major, a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and a Bachelor of Arts in History, from Rutgers University, whose Philosophy Department was ranked 2nd in the world jointly with Oxford University. Yuri planned on pursuing a law career and achieved a near perfect score on the LSAT (Law School Admission Test), but, in 2009, she decided to spend a year teaching English in Seoul, South Korea after college before applying to law school. The decision turned out to be a life-changing one, as she realized in that year that she valued promoting learning over litigation.
Yuri has worked for some of the largest English language companies, such as Chungdahm Learning in Korea, teaching General English, Business English, Literature, Debate, and Composition. Most of her teaching experience has been at elite test prep centers in the Gangnam area of Seoul, where she specialized in TOEFL, SAT/SAT 2, and AP classes, and published several TOEFL speaking books in-house. She also created and taught an AP Language and Composition course at Daewon Foreign Language High School, the best foreign language high school in Korea. Now, with almost a decade of educating learners of all ages and levels, Yuri chose to leave Korea and come to Vietnam not only to teach in a new country but also to learn from a new culture.