I have deep roots in the San Francisco Bay Area, growing up in Oakland, and attending the public schools there. Entering UC Berkeley as a Mechanical Engineering major, I quickly realized I wanted to dedicate my career to other goals. While I enjoyed the hands-on engineering projects in my high school’s vocational engineering academy, I did not have the passion to pursue it as a lifelong career.
When I took the introductory course for Asian American Studies in my first semester at UC Berkeley, many of my previous observations regarding the racism and stereotypes that my peers from high school faced were being validated and explained in new depth and detail. The absence of the Asian American experience in popular culture, as well as the history textbooks from my earlier school days became more apparent to me. Since then, I have grown to be very active, vocal, and generally passionate about raising awareness of marginalized communities, including the API (Asian and Pacific Islander) experience, and the challenges that result from a history of racism, stereotypes, and the denial of visibility.
When I met my, now, wife of ten years, these issues developed a deeper meaning for me. A 1.5 generation Filipina, her experiences, which I in-turn shared in our marriage, have exposed me to the challenges surrounding her siblings’ access to education, employment, and immigration to this country. For my own wife, a graduate of San Francisco State University with a B.S. in Computer Science, I saw employers discriminate against her, assume she would be passive and “unsuitable for the position.” Most importantly, I have seen the human cost these issues present to everyone in my family, and through my work as a scholar-activist in the greater Filipino American community.
I have cared deeply for exposing the importance of bilingual education and the maintenance of Tagalog for all generations of Filipino American youth. Namely, I have expressed this through my work with the Linguistic and Kultural Advocacy Society (LAKAS), and my MA thesis which documents a 15-year history of activism and educational policies surrounding the Filipino-English bilingual program in San Francisco public schools.
While I have taken leave from my scholarly work and activism, I am focusing on spending time with my wife and our two children, Ilaw and Tala. Raising our children to be bilingual, bi-cultural children takes thoughtful intent, especially without reinforcement of the heritage language at school. Nevertheless, despite my present departure from scholarship, I continue to think of myself as a scholar-activist—remaining critically thoughtful about society, our community and the education of my children as mixed-race Filipino Americans.
From scholar-activism, my professional career has, somewhat unexpectedly, led me into Information Technology. For the past 2 years, I have been fortunate to return to my Alma Mater, UC Berkeley, as the Technical Services Supervisor for Student Affairs IT. I oversee the student helpdesk, known as Student Technology Services (STS). My team is staffed by 35 student employees in roles that include front line support staff, supervisors, and a program coordinator who spearheads projects that improve the process, quality, and breadth of services we offer. As a former student employee in this program, I have a great appreciation and respect for what our student employment and leadership program can offer students. As such, I am very passionate about the work our department does, both to support our student staff, and the services our teams provide to students on campus.
Specifically, my goals are to 1) ensure we provide quality technical support and education to all UC Berkeley students 2) address issues of equity in accessing, leveraging technology and the necessary support to be successful students in the 21st century, and 3) supporting, coaching, and mentoring my student employees to advance in our organization and to be successful young professionals as they enter the workforce or continue their education in the field or industry of their choice. Along with the Technology-related emphasis of my current job, I continue to find ways to incorporate into my work and my life pursuits, the core values of Ethnic Studies, Asian American Studies, Multicultural Education, and most importantly the equity and justice that these fields seek.