Message from the Chair
I feel privileged to serve as the chair of UCI’s Asian American Studies Department. I first learned that there was a field of study called Asian American Studies as an undergraduate student at Stanford University. In response to racialized attacks against Ujamaa (a theme dorm that welcomed students of all backgrounds to learn about Black history and culture), I participated in a multi-racial political coalition to advocate for ethnic studies and more robust services to support students of color. I believe that universities should take the lead in creating inclusive learning communities. Our society collectively needs these spaces where people of diverse backgrounds have the opportunity to learn about pressing social issues, analyze social inequalities, and work towards social justice. I eventually served on the search committee that appointed the first two Asian American Studies Professors at Stanford. After receiving my Ph.D. in U.S. History in 1998 (also from Stanford), I taught and developed the Asian American Studies Program at the Ohio State University. I am particularly proud of launching the Japanese American Oral History/Documentary Project, “Faces of the Past, Voices of the Present,” and co-establishing DISCO (The Diversity and Identity Studies Collective at OSU). I joined the UCI faculty in 2015 and became chair of the department in 2016. I am thrilled to live in a region of the country with such vibrant and diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. I feel honored to teach, conduct research, and contribute to the intellectual mission of a university federally recognized as an AANAPISI (an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution).