Meet Our Students
Asian American studies supports the academic endeavors of graduate students through our Asian American/Diaspora Graduate Student Group. The cohort convenes regularly to discuss their research, share ideas, and build a network of support for Asian American/Diaspora scholars. Let’s meet some of our graduate students:
Culture and teaching, 2021
Ariana Yang is a second-year PhD student studying culture and teaching in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Minnesota. Her research interests include examining Hmong and Southeast Asian American student experiences, investigating themes of praxis and radical love in critical pedagogy, envisioning radical futures for education, and conceptualizing activism in schools. In 2015, Ariana was a recipient of the 2015–2016 Diversity of Views and Experiences Fellowship. She received her BA in global studies with a minor in Asian American studies from the University of Minnesota.
Chee Kue Lee
Multicultural college teaching and learning, 2017
Chee Kue Lee is a second year master’s student in multicultural college teaching and learning. His academic background comprises of an intersectional framework in feminist theory, Asian Pacific American studies, human relations, and multicultural education. He has worked in racial and social justice realms through his involvement with organizations such as Community Action Against Racism (CAAR) and ManFoward. His current research interests looks at how student organizations influence leadership models and their correlation to constructions of gender roles.
PhD Candidate in the Department of American Studies
His scholarly interests lie in the broad fields of Southeast Asian American studies and queer studies. His dissertation examines how ideas of refugeeism help to construct and inform the ways Hmong gender, sexualities, and kinship systems are understood through time. He then explores the stakes that these constructions of gender and sexuality have in contemporary Hmong youth subjectivities, queer identities, and queer theorizing. Pha's community work builds upon scholarship in these areas. He has been living in the Twin Cities for the last 15 years and attended the University of Minnesota as an undergraduate, where he received an interdisciplinary degree in psychology, sociology, history, and Asian American studies.
Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay
Liberal studies with a focus on arts and cultural leadership, 2017
Saymoukda is pursuing a Master of Liberal Studies. Her thesis is titled "An Argument For Why Art is a Legitimate Career for Lao American Refugees." Saymoukda's writings can be found in the Saint Paul Almanac (Arcata Press), Lessons For Our Time (MN Center for Book Arts), Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement (Purdue University Press), and The Asian American Literary Review (Binghamton University). Her work has been possible due to support from the Jerome Foundation, Bush Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Knight Foundation, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and the MN State Arts Board. She is best known for her award-winning play Kung Fu Zombies vs. Cannibals (Theater Mu) and is developing two more plays for the Kung Fu Zombieverse anthology of stage works. Her play Kung Fu Zombies vs. Shaman Warrior will be presented by the Smithsonian as part of their migratory Culture Lab Imagined Futures exhibit in New York. An excerpt from her poem "When Everything Was Everything" will be published by Coffeehouse Press and distributed on thousands of coffee sleeves for coffee drinkers to enjoy. Keep up with her at @Refugenius.
M. Chip Chang
American studies, 2021
A native Californian, Chip moved to Minnesota to pursue a PhD in American studies. She graduated with an MA in Asian American studies at UCLA where her thesis examined the figure of the Asian American rapper alongside Black/Asian American racialization, the role of the multicultural neoliberal state, and the hip hop duo, Blue Scholars. Her current research explores popular culture and racial formations.