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  • NYS Writers Institute

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: A conversation with UAlbany students

What do you know about “Asians” in the United States?

In today’s post, NYS Writers Institute Graduate Assistant Kaori Otera Chen speaks with fellow student members of the University at Albany Racial Justice Committee about their experiences. They're joined by Samuel Caldwell, UAlbany's Interim Chief Diversity Officer, and Paul Grondahl, Director of NYS Writers Institute.

Background on the UAlbany RJC Student Representatives

(Left to right, Ivan Kristhiane Daquial, Qing (Tingting) Liu, Zhifan Luo, Jaci Yong, and Kaori Otera Chen)

Ivan Kristhiane Daquial is a rising senior at the University at Albany, studying political science and philosophy, with interests on bioethics and law and philosophy.

He is a migrant from Tuguegarao City, Cagayan, Philippines. In his homeland, Ivan graduated from San Jacinto Seminary. There, he was involved with seminary leadership, national sports competitions, regional oratorical and declamatory contests, and musical liturgy. Upon moving to the United States in 2016, Ivan was trained and inspired by Filipinx organizers in Jackson Heights in Queens. They were heavily impactful in the works to restore youth and migrants’ power and justice, organizing to end the school-to-prison pipeline and gentrification. He finds optimism and inspiration from the organizers of Damayan, Ugnayan, and DRUM, and many other grassroots-powered movements.

Qing (Tingting) Liu is a second-year PhD student in Sociology at the University at Albany. Her research interests include migration and immigration, globalization, comparative studies, family, gender and youth culture. Previously she has conducted research on internal migration in China and transnational marriage in Taiwan, while currently she focuses on three research projects: temporary workers in Australia, impact of COVID-19 on international students in the US, and Chinese global capital in LA.

Zhifan Luo is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University at Albany. She was born in China and arrived in the United States in 2011. Her research interest includes political discourse, hegemony, and social media.

Jaci Yong is a first-year undergraduate student, studying Psychology. She is interested in neurodevelopmental disorders as well as substance abuse disorders. Before becoming a student at UAlbany, Jaci was the Vice President of the Chinese Student Association in her high school.

At UAlbany, Jaci works at the Multicultural Resource Center and with the Racial Justice Committee. Her goal is to educate people about the problems that Asians face that society may be largely unaware of and share the joys of Asian culture with everybody.

Kaori Otera Chen is a NYS Writers Institute graduate assistant. Born in Tokyo, Japan, Kaori moved to the United States in 2010. She is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at the University at Albany and is conducting her ethnographic research with local weavers.


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