Profiles of Graduating Seniors 2013-2014

Patty ChenPATTY CHEN is from San Mateo and decided to major in AAADS after she took Asian American Studies 20A with Harvey Dong. She interned for API Equality, the Chinatown-based organization advocating for the fair treatment of API and LGBTQ communities, and has been a copy editor intern and writer for hardboiled, the only Asian American Pacific newspaper on the Berkeley campus. AAADS provided her with unforgettable memories, gave her opportunities to better her writing and public speaking skills, and introduced her to a new way of looking at the world. She plans on pursuing a career as a public interest lawyer and helping the community on her free time.

VivianVIVIAN HO is a second generation Chinese American from the Bay Area. As a freshman, she had her eyes set on becoming pre-med. However, during her sophomore year, she took Asian American Studies 20A and learned more about her own history and identity. She enjoyed the smaller community of Asian American Studies and became interested in integrating her interested of the medical profession and work with the Asian community. With her field study units, she spent the time at Asian Health Services at Daly City working with monolingual patients. She recently completed her honors thesis on the health perceptions of the Chinese Community on bone marrow donation. She will be attending Yale University in the fall for a master’s program to become an acute care nurse practitioner.

Stephanie HoangSTEPHANIE HOANG is an AAADS and Social Welfare double major who is passionate about social justice, education, selfies, and new media. She was born and raised in East Oakland by a single mother, and found a passion for Asian American Studies at Cal because it gave her the opportunity to be rooted in her racial identity and ethnic history. The AAADS department has been a home to her in exploring her various identities and will guide her work with API and multicultural communities in the future. Stephanie is excited to be studying in her mother’s homeland of Vietnam in the Fall, but plans to stay rooted in the Bay Area to do social justice work wherever she is needed.

Vy HoangVY HOANG is a graduating senior double majoring in AAADS and Sociology. She is currently an intern at the Asian Pacific American Student Development Office (APASD) and the Board Director of the Queer Alliance & Resource Center (QARC). Her AAADS favorite courses include topics on gender and sexuality, Southeast Asian diaspora, and contemporary issues affecting the Asian American Women community. She will miss the sassy, brilliant, and epiphanic  lectures. Vy is eager to continue finding and being grounded in community as exemplified in the AAADS department as she returns back to the South Bay.

Sam LaiThe first time SAM LAI heard about Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies was in her freshman year, and immediately she thought, “I’ll never major in that.” Three years later, Sam has accepted that she was wrong about that initial thought, and the only regret she has is not finishing her honors thesis, which she was also wrong in assuming she could tackle. Some of the most memorable classes Sam took included 171 with Elaine Kim, 20A with Michael Omi, and 20B with Harvey Dong because they all heavily shaped her understanding of gender and race (and she met her best friend Kassie in 20A). Sam has been involved in pretty much every API student org and credits hardboiled for being the political home that kept her sane all these years.

EugeneEUGENE LAU first encountered AAADS after taking Prof. Saragoza’s ES 11AC class. Having gained a burgeoning interest in the intersection of culture and race, he decided upon majoring in AAADS in order to discover more about himself and the community around him. His studies with Prof. Ling Chi Wang, Prof. Takahashi, and Prof. Choy gave him the tools to complete and graduate in such an inspiring major. You can catch Eugene around the Bay Area taking street photos, practicing the trumpet, and learning how to cook. After graduation, Eugene plans to work a bit before pursuing a master’s degree in order to better promote youth advocacy, community art, and grassroots organizing. It’s a journey still, and Eugene is trying to be a pioneer.

Sam SaravongSAMANTHA SARAVONG is a first generation born Laotian-American. Her interest in the program began with her family and her need to understand their history and her identity. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in Education, with the goal of eventually becoming a teacher at her former high school.


Irene TuIRENE TU is from Chicago. She became interested in AAADS after taking an Asian American literature class her freshman year of college. Her favorite AAADS class during her time at UC Berkeley was AAS 171: Asians in Film and Video with Elaine Kim. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in comedy. She hopes to use her knowledge to create media that highlights the diversity and complexity in the Asian American community.

ChiravannCHIRAVANN UCH is a first generation Cambodian American from Oakland, CA. After working with youth community organizations within the Asian/Pacific Islander community throughout high school, she knew she wanted to go into college developing a blossoming passion for social justice for Asian American communities while (re)discovering her own roots coming from an immigrant refugee background. She applied to Berkeley intending to major in Asian American Studies and has not regretted it since. She has continuously found redefining learning experiences and support within this department that has solidified her goals of going back to her community that has raised her in all ways possible.

Whitney WongWHITNEY WONG is a double major in Integrative Biology & AAADS. She is very excited to be heading to Washington D.C. in the fall to pursue a master’s degree in public health. She feels she has been able to grow so much through her experiences, both in and outside the classrooms. She has been able to learn about herself, and has been inspired to bring what she has learned in her classes to the field of public health.

DennisDENNIS YEE is a fourth generation Chinese American from Cupertino, California. From the major he was able to learn more about his family history in the United States, from his ancestors working in the mines to his family supermarket chain in San Jose. After graduating, Dennis will work in the community based organization, Asian Immigrant Women Advocates (AIWA), with one of his professors in AAADS, Young Shin.