68 minutes | Sep 4, 2020

Episode 67: Overcoming Barriers while Pursuing a Career in Academia as an Asian American with the SEAAster Scholars

Jessica Nguyen sits down with a few members of the Southeast Asian American (SEAA) SEAAster Scholars Collective–Jacqueline Mac, Linda Pheng, Vanessa S. Na, Varaxy Yi–to hear more about their experiences as POC/SEAA in academia, the meaning of homemaking, and the origin story and mission of their collective. After running into each other at various conferences and acknowledging that there were not many SEAA that occupy the academic space, they made it a goal to create a support system that provided the exchange of knowledge and authentic voices/experiences of the SEA diaspora. Oftentimes feeling alienated and isolated in academia, which is a predominantly White space, some members have taken more creative approaches (like dyeing their hair blue) in order to stand out and fight against invisibilization. When speaking about the challenges they had to overcome, they realized they wanted to do more than just survive. They wanted to thrive. Focusing on fostering a collaborative atmosphere, the SEAAster Scholars Collective was founded to help people feel whole and supported. Engaging with other scholars who are able to empathize with their cultural experiences and honor each other’s beliefs and values, they found empowerment. After sharing their favorite moments and takeaways from being a part of this group, they end the podcast by providing advice and resources to those interested in pursuing a career in academia. The SOUTHEAST ASIAN AMERICAN (SEAA) SEEASTER SCHOLARS COLLECTIVE is committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of the postsecondary experiences of SEAA students, staff, and faculty. We met as graduate students through various social connections and higher education networks and were thrilled to learn that there were other Southeast Asian womxn in higher education. We hold individual and collective identities as Khmer American, Lao American, ethnic Chinese Vietnamese American, daughters of refugees, partners, friends, and sisters. Varaxy Yi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, California State University, Fresno Malaphone Phommasa, Ph.D., Director, Transfer Student Center, University of California, Santa Barbara Latana J. Thaviseth, Ph. D. Student, University of California, Los Angeles Linda Pheng, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Wisconsin, Madison Vanessa S. Na, Ph.D. Student, University of California, San Diego Jacqueline Mac, Ph. D. Candidate, Indiana University, Bloomington WEBSITE: Seaasters.com INSTAGRAM: seaaster_scholars
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