Conlin was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, to a Chinese mother, an accountant, and a father of Irish descent, a contractor.
She performed in her first play at the age of six, and continued to appear on stage in numerous Pennsylvania community and regional productions. She attended Parkland High School, where she starred in productions of Bye Bye Birdie and The Crucible. After graduating from high school in 1996, she moved to New York to study acting and was accepted into New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. While working toward her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater, she appeared in several productions at the Atlantic Theater Company and the Playwrights Horizons Theater School, Stonestreet Studios Conservatory and traveled to Amsterdam to study with the Experimental Theatre Wing's International Training Program.
Following her graduation from NYU, Conlin was chosen to be a part of the cable documentary series The It Factor, which focused on the lives of young actors in New York City. Soon after, she was relocated to Los Angeles, California, where she landed her first starring role in the ABC drama series MDs, playing an idealistic young intern taken under the wing of the hospital's two renegade doctors, played by William Fichtner and John Hannah. She followed that with a leading role in the ABC drama series The D.A., playing an outspoken political consultant to Steven Weber's district attorney.
Conlin plays Angela Montenegro in the popular Fox drama, Bones (starring Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz). In the series, Angela is married to Dr. Jack Hodgins (T. J. Thyne), while her father is ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons who plays a fictionalized version of himself. Angela's full name is Angela "Pookie Noodlin'" Pearly Gates Montenegro, with Pearly Gates also being the name of Gibbons' Les Paul guitar. In 2008 Conlin was nominated for an Asian Excellence Award in the category of Supporting Television actress for her role on Bones.
In addition to her television work, Conlin portrayed Detective Heidi Sobel in the 2011 drama film, The Lincoln Lawyer. She also appeared in Open Window, opposite Robin Tunney, and Love the Hard Way, which starred Adrien Brody.
|2001||Love the Hard Way||Cara|
|2002||Pipe Dream||TV reporter|
|2011||The Lincoln Lawyer||Heidi Sobel|
|2015||Baby, Baby, Baby||Courtney Lee||Post-production|
|2001||Law & Order||Rocky||Episode: "Swept Away - A Very Special Episode"|
|2002||The Division||House director||Episode: "Illusions"|
|2002||MDs||Dr. Maggie Yang||10 episodes|
|2003||JAG||Lt. Mary Nash||Episode: "Posse Comitatus"|
|2003||The D.A.||Jinette McMahon||4 episodes|
|2005–present||Bones||Angela Montenegro||234 episodes|
|2016||Casual||Claire||Episode: "Death And Taxes"|