Alumni Detail

Detailed Information
LeeSunny Lee (1996)


University of California, Irvine
University of Maryland, College Park
Claremont Graduate University

Placement: UC Berkeley

Appointment/Title: Ombuds Offices for Students & Post Docs

Biography/Additional Information

I am a UCI alumnae (1996) and majored in Criminology, Law, & Society. I finished my major early and then took almost every Asian American Studies class that was available during that time. The selection wasn’t as abundant as they are now, but I appreciated each course and how it helped shape my undergraduate experience, research interests, and career choice.  As a student, I joined the Asian Pacific Student Association (APSA) which was the perfect place for to me to put into practice what I was learning in AAS.  We organized around affirmative action, racial profiling of Asian American men students, and built coalitions with the other umbrella organizations in the Cross-Cultural Center.  I also wrote for the Asian American newspaper which was called Rice Paper at the time.  AAS courses nurtured my critical consciousness in ways I could not have imagined otherwise possible. It gave me the self-confidence to be a leader, the courage to express myself, a sense of purpose and mission, and the tools to understand my own life experiences as an immigrant woman of color.

The combination of AAS and my involvement in student activism propelled me into a career in student affairs. I wanted to support student development in a social justice framework and make a difference in the lives of underrepresented students. I went on to the University of Maryland, College Park to earn a masters degree in College Student Personnel where I held the first graduate assistantship to advise Asian American student leaders.  My advisor, classmates and I published some of the first works on Asian American student development. We co-edited the first monograph about Asian American college students that is still used today in student affairs masters degree program. My background in Asian American Studies at UCI served as a strong foundation for much of this work. 

My first full-time job out of graduate school was working in the Asian American Resource Center at Pomona College. I then returned to UC Irvine to work as a staff member at the Cross-Cultural Center before I moved on to Cal Poly Pomona to become the director of Student Life & Cultural Centers.  AAS and my involvement at UCI planted a seed for social change and justice that has been growing ever since. I went on to earn a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Claremont Graduate University and currently work in the Ombuds Office for Students & Postdocs at UC Berkeley where we provide conflict resolution services.  I credit my education in AAS for providing me the grounding to understand phenomena from multiple perspectives that continues to aid my work today.

I am truly grateful for the influential role that AAS has had on my life in the personal, professional, and political realms!

« Return to Profiles