Page 1


The Department of

Asian American Studies The Department of Asian American Studies is the strongest and the intellectually most diverse of its kind in the country. It offers a Bachelor of Arts degree, an undergraduate minor, and a Master of Arts degree. The Department grants two concurrent M.A. degrees: a Master of Public Health with the Fielding School of Public Health Department of Community Health Sciences and a Master of Social Work with the Luskin School of Public Affairs Department of Social Welfare. Asian American Studies education carries out the following missions: (1) conduct teaching that enables students to learn, think, and perform in a nurturing and intellectually stimulating environment, (2) equip students with theoretical and practical knowledge, as well as analytical and communicative skills that reflect the excellence of the Asian American Studies faculty, and (3) prepare students for life after college, as professionals, political leaders, community workers, artists, and entrepreneurs. Following the tradition of civil rights struggles of the 1960s and 1970s, the Department values the social relevance of academy-based knowledge production, as well as the connection between academia, the Asian Pacific Islander community, and other disadvantaged social groups. Faculty in the Department are likewise committed to offering a broad, inclusive, and flexible curriculum designed to meet maximum student needs, with an emphasis on close m e n t o r s h i p , c o l l a b o r a t i ve t e a ch i n g , a n d e n ga ge d scholarship.


Program Processional Call to Order

Allan Arnold Gamalinda Aquino

Welcome and Department Address Jinqi Ling, Ph.D.

Undergraduate Student Speaker Emily Taing

Graduate Student Speaker Marcus Trần Degnan

Graduate Students’Appreciation Award Presented by Tiffany Johanna Lytle

Chiyoko Doris and Toshio Hoshide Distinguished Teaching Prize Presented by Victor Bascara, Ph.D.

Keynote Speaker

Tanzila “Taz” Ahmed

Hooding Ceremony | Master of Arts

Lucy Burns, Ph.D. Nguyễn-võ Thu-hương, Ph.D. Valerie Matsumoto, Ph.D.

Recognition of the Graduate Concentration Victor Bascara, Ph.D.

Conferral of the Bachelor of Arts

Jinqi Ling, Ph.D. Valerie Matsumoto, Ph.D. \

Tassel Turning & Closing Remarks Jinqi Ling, Ph.D.



“We” by Tiffany Johanna Lytle

Asian American Studies Degree Candidates Master of Arts Christina Marie Ang Ayson Tiffany Johanna Lytle Marcus Trần Degnan Tracy Yueqian Zhao

Graduate Concentration Edward Ryan Narciso Curammeng

Majors Kelly An Joshua Michael Chin Caroline Cho** Kristine Rae DeGuzman de los Santos° Yanting He Jenny Huang° Emory Johnson** Marilyn Maily Lo Andrew Magat Lopez° Evelyn Vo Ma Kevin Xuan Mai

Linda Nguyen Phan Jaeho Rho Reuben John Hernandez Ronquillo Joseph Park Salonen Andrew Sam Riana Singh Emily Taing• Cindy K. Tran Hoang Bao Vy Tran Joshua Xiong Angela Lisa Yip**


Gareth Sebastian De Wied Kate Angela Dolorito Anthony Chung Gong Cunxin Gong Bo James Hwang Tara Aya Kawai-Daniels Antonio Miguel Santos Javiniar

Emiko Otera Kranz Shizuka Murakami Dermot Cong Nguyen Timothy-Tuan Hung Nguyen Tiffany Pham Thang Quoc Tran Dominico Cartel Vega

** Latin Honors: Summa Cum Laude Asian American Studies Department Honors ° Pilipino Studies Concentration


Master of Ceremonies

Allan Arnold Gamalinda Aquino Allan Arnold Gamalinda Aquino is a poet and professor at California State University, Northridge, where he moderates courses focused upon Filipino and Asian Pacific American history and arts. He is a 2000 graduate of the Asian American Studies Master of Arts program at UCLA. He reserves his profoundest gratitude for his inspirational mentors from our Bruin community: Professors Rachel C. Lee, Russell Leong, and Anna Alves, and the late Professors Don Nakanishi and N.V.M. Gonzalez.

Keynote Speaker

Tanzila “Taz” Ahmed Tanzila "Taz" Ahmed is an activist, storyteller, and politico based in Los Angeles. Taz received a Master in Public Policy degree with a concentration in racial justice policy from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Taz mobilized thousands of Asian American & Pacific Islanders to the polls in over seventeen different languages in the past fifteen years. In 2004, she founded South Asian American Voting Youth, a national organization that organizes South Asian American youth to have a political voice and get involved in the electoral process. She has since worked at Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles and Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance. She currently is a Campaign Strategist at 18MillionRising.

Tanzila “Taz” Ahmed by Les Talusan (2016)

Taz led workshops with EnviroCitizen, APIA Vote, the League of Young Voters, and Campus Camp Wellstone. In 2016, Taz was honored as a White House Champion of Change for Asian American and Pacific Islander Art and Storytelling. She cohosts the #GoodMuslimBadMuslim podcast as featured in Oprah Magazine, Wired, and Buzzfeed, and in live shows recorded at South by Southwest and the White House. She had a monthly column called Radical Love, was a blogger for Sepia Mutiny, and has written for  Truthout, The Aerogram, The Nation, Left Turn Magazine, and more. She published in the anthologies, Good Girls Marry Doctors (2016) and Love, Inshallah (2012), as well as in a poetry collection, Coiled Serpent (2016). Her third poetry chapbook, Emdash and Ellipses, was published in early 2016. Taz curates Desi music at  Mishthi Music  and annually makes #MuslimVDay Cards. Her artwork was featured in Sharia Revoiced (2015), in Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s “H-1B” (2015), and Rebel  Legacy: Activist Art from South Asian California (2014).   You can find her rant on twitter @tazzystar and at


Undergraduate Student Speaker Emily Taing

Emily is a first generation college student originally from San Jose, California and grew up working in her family donut shop. During her time at UCLA, she double majored in International Development Studies with a concentration on Southeast Asia and Asian American Studies, and a minor in European Studies. This past academic year, Emily completed an honors thesis titled Cambodian Women And Remembering Across Generations: Refugees, Trauma, and Resilience, which was awarded the UCLA Undergraduate Research Scholars Grant and the Center for the Study of Women 2017 Travel Grant. During her spare time, Emily loves to hike, travel, cook, and Facetime her mother. In the future, Emily will pursue a career in public interest law and wish to serve underrepresented communities. This fall, Emily will be moving to New York City and pursuing a Master's degree in American Studies at the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Emily would like to give a huge thank you to the professors, staff and students of the Asian American Studies Department. She would also like to thank her incredibly hardworking parents, loving family and wonderful friends for their unconditional support throughout her journey here at UCLA.

Graduate Student Speaker Marcus Trần Degnan

Marcus Trần Degnan is a fiction writer, scholar, and community organizer who originally emerged in the swamplands of Central Florida. He graduated the University of Florida with a degree in English and minors in both Asian Studies and Asian American studies. He has since continued his education at UCLA, where he completed his M.A. in Asian American Studies with a focus on creative writing, Asian American literature, and videogame studies. Outside of his scholarship, he has also been involved in various organizing efforts, including nonprofit organizations like the Southeast Asian Resource Action Center, Asian Pacific Islander Equality-Los Angeles, and the progressive Vietnamese American collective, Ha Ba Trung. He currently sits on the National Board as Communications Director for Sparks Magazine, the only Asian American student-interest publication in the Southeast region. He was also a 2016 Emerging Fiction Writing Fellow for Lambda Literary for LGBTQ+ writers. He would like to give thanks to number of people who he attributes to helping him get to where he is. First and foremost, he would like to thank all of his teachers in Florida, with specific regards to Ms. Noel and Dr. Schueller, and the amazing professors and Center staffers he had the pleasure of meeting within the past 2 years in LA. He would also like to give a shout out to his family, especially his parents, for indulging in the convoluted arguments he’d start just because he get bored. He would also like to give special thanks to his cohort, who collectively, remain some of the best and brightest classmates he ever had the pleasure of stressing out alongside. His final thanks would be to his greatest supporters, both John Dean and Kim, for putting up with his antics despite the time difference from coast to coast.


Chiyoko Doris and Toshio Hoshide Distinguished Teaching Prize Randall Akee, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor Randall Akee of the Department of Public Policy and American Indian Studies and a member of the Asian American Studies Center Faculty Advisory Committee is the 2016-17 recipient of the Chiyoko Doris and Toshio  Hoshide  Distinguished Teaching Prize.

Professor Akee received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Political Economy, M.A. from Yale University in International and Development Economics, and B.A. from Dartmouth College in Economics. He is emerging as one of the most important and influential scholars studying the socioeconomic conditions of indigenous people, and formulating strategies to address their marginalization. He is a former Economic Development Specialist for the State of Hawai'i, Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Since 2013, he has served on the U.S. Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations. Professor Akee has conducted extensive research on several American Indian reservations, Canadian First Nations, and Pacific Island nations in addition to working in various Native Hawaiian communities. His main research interests are labor economics, economic development, and migration. Colleagues and students compellingly expressed how Professor Akee was well deserving of receiving the Chiyoko Doris and Toshio Hoshide Award honor. He taught key courses that benefit Asian American Studies enormously because of how he incorporates Pacific Islanders, an understudied racial group in the United States. One colleague stated, “He epitomizes a faculty who bridges disciplinary silos (American Indian Studies, Asian American Studies and Public Policy), not an easy task at UCLA.” In “Economic Principles and Economic Development in Indigenous Communities,” Dr. Akee uses Micronesian migration to Guam and the U.S. and Tongan migration to New Zealand as examples of diaspora of indigenous peoples. The significant international movement of Pacific Islanders makes this group unique among indigenous populations, creating challenges to how students understand the indigenous experience. This is the only course offered at UCLA focusing on the prosperity of Indigenous nations and communities globally through economic subsistence.


“I learned first-hand of the high expectations he has for his students. Dr. Akee challenges his students intellectually. As one of few Pacific Islander students, it made me think about what it meant to be a Pacific Islander scholar,” said one student. Another student noted, “With the purpose of using data to show how Native people have successfully approached economic development, Dr. Akee effectively engaged our class in a way that felt both very thorough and intimate.” Professor Akee’s “Pacific Island Economic Development” course focuses on the Anglophone former colonies and countries in the Pacific. The class examines the economic and political development of the Hawaiian Islands, Fiji, the islands of Micronesia, Samoa and Tahiti. A student commented, “I enjoyed every minute of Dr. Akee's class because it challenged me to look beyond the scope of my field and bridge western-indigenous methodologies to critique economically sustainable programs in the South Pacific.” Professor Akee also worked with Pacific Islander graduate students to establish the Graduate Student Association for Pasifika. It was created to support graduate students from Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander descent or areas. As one student expressed, “Dr. Akee is a role model, but a mentor to countless Pacific Islander students. He offers unencumbered and relentless support to any student seeking his guidance, which, I believe, reflects his love for teaching, research, but more so his community.” The late C. Doris Hoshide, Class of 1934, of Rockville, MD, established the teaching  prize  to annually recognize an outstanding professor in Asian American Studies. She and her husband were longtime supporters of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. The Hoshide Prize includes a one thousand dollar award.

Randall Akee, Ph.D. Courtesy of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center


Letter to the Graduates Dear Graduating Class of 2017: It is with immense joy and pride that I  extend my warmest congratulations to each of you on this memorable occasion.  Welcome to the UCLA Asian American Studies family of alumni!  Today’s event marks both the successful culmination of your academic pursuit of Asian American Studies at this institution and the beginning of a new  chapter in your lives as professionals, community workers, artists, entrepreneurs, political leaders, and continuing scholars.    Through your academic study, campus involvement, and community outreach, you have greatly enriched the Department in many aspects of its operation.  I want to thank you for your valuable contributions. Wherever your paths may lead you next, we look forward to learning about your successes in future  endeavors. Congratulations again on your major achievement of graduating from UCLA’s Asian American Studies Department!  Sincerely, Jinqi Ling, Ph.D. Professor and Chair Department of Asian American Studies University of California, Los Angeles 8

Asian American Studies Department University of California, Los Angeles 3336 Rolfe Hall, Box 957225 Los Angeles, CA 90095-7225 T: 310/267-5592 | F: 310/267-5590




UCLA AASD Commencement 2017 Program  
UCLA AASD Commencement 2017 Program