A picture of me, showing off my work superlative in 2017, wherein coworkers voted me as "Most Likely to be the Cool Professor Sticking It to the Man." I would like to think the superlative is quite accurate!
Growing up in Virginia Beach, VA, I became interested in studying media and performance at a young age. At four years old, I was cast as Tam in the National Tour of "Miss Saigon," and thus began my career as an anthropologist. Traveling from state to state, appreciating aesthetics at intersection with Southeast Asia and gender from an early age, it was not until after completion of my senior thesis regarding depictions of Asian women in the media that I began to realize how my childhood had profoundly influenced my career and research.
After spending my first year of college studying social theory at New York University, I graduated from the University of Virginia in 2015 with Bachelor's degrees in Anthropology, Women Gender & Sexuality, and a concentration in Media Studies. In regards to fieldwork, I attended field school at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, wherein I studied legal anthropology and indigenous methods in Madre de Dios, Peru. I have also conducted fieldwork on ecotourism and cultural autonomy in Pastaza, Ecuador.
Prior to joining the University of Oregon's Department of Anthropology, I worked as a college adviser. As a low-income, first-generation student myself, I worked in rural communities to provide college access to underrepresented high school students. I have also worked in refugee resettlement services with the International Rescue Committee, served as literary editor for several student-run publications such as Inkstone Magazine, worked on special projects for the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, and served as a language consultant to community members who were learning English as a Second Language in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Outside of academia, I am a strong advocate for Asian/Asian American issues, specifically promoting visibility and leadership among Asian American women. For three years, I served as facilitator of the Women's Asian American Leadership Initiative, wherein I led programs to assist Asian female students in finding their own individualized form of leadership. In 2014, my colleagues and I presented these innovative leadership models at the NASPA Leadership Educators Institute in Fort Worth, Texas.