Asian & Pacific American Heritage Spotlight

 

The Heritage Month Advisory Council, comprised of faculty members from academic departments across campus, has chosen to recognize each Heritage Month by honoring and celebrating faculty and staff for their positive impact here at Baylor University.

 

Dr. Christina Chan-Park

Dr. Christina Chan-Park

What is your position title or subject area?

STEM Librarian Coordinator

Please give a little background information about yourself.

I was born in California, but when I was four moved to Houston where I did all my schooling until I went to college.  After 13 years of schooling and various teaching jobs, I returned to Houston where I taught at the University of Houston and ran an NSF-funded professional development program for underrepresented STEM graduate students.  I moved to Waco when I got married and became a STEM librarian at Baylor.

What are you passions?

I’ve always been taught that it’s okay (and even good) to be different and to not have the opinions of others influence how you see yourself or what you do.  I embrace my Chinese heritage and love hearing family stories about moving to survive hardships and how those personal anecdotes relate to world events; at the same time I also do not take being American for granted.  I also enjoy reading for pleasure and spending time with my family—especially teaching my son when he doesn’t realize I’m doing it.

Please give us your educational background.

PhD Geophysics, University of British Columbia

MSIS Information Science, University of North Texas

MAPA Public Administration, University of Houston

MS Geophysics, Stanford University

AB Geology, Princeton University

What does Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month mean to you?

I first heard about APAHM when I was in college, and the celebration/recognition was extended from a week to a full month.  What I find fascinating are the different immigration stories throughout the history of the United States from all parts of Asia and the Pacific and how these immigrants and their descendants play a vital role in shaping America.  Every experience and culture is unique, but at the same time the thread of struggle and perseverance weaves its way through these stories.  I find that APAHM is a way to celebrate both our individuality and our unity.

 

Jennifer Oh

Jennifer Oh

What is your position title or subject area?

Assistant Director of International Admissions

Please give a little background information about yourself.

My twin sister and I were raised in diverse neighborhoods near Queens, New York. Often we were the only Korean-Americans, in our schools and didn’t have much exposure to peers who shared a similar mix of Korean & American cultures until we began attending a Korean church in high school. Having the opportunity to form meaningful friendships with people of all different backgrounds, cultures, beliefs, and generations through the years has been such a gift!

What are your passions?

Everything expressed in Isaiah 61- to see Christ glorified & the world redeemed, restored, and made whole in His perfect love. On a day-to-day level, I’m grateful for everyday blessings with loved ones and friends: finding fun/delicious food & coffee spots, enjoying music and nature/the outdoors, or just getting lost in stories (hearing peoples’ experiences & catching up on life with old friends, reading, or streaming shows). I’ve been on a bit of a baking-kick since quarantine, but probably need to balance out my taste-testing with a work-out-routine at some point.

Please give us your educational background.

I studied Psychology and Education at the College of William & Mary and spent a few years teaching (at a local school in Virginia, and then internationally in Seoul, Korea).  Afterwards, I went on to complete my M.Div degree at Nyack while serving in ministry in New York before coming to Baylor. 

What does Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month mean to you?

Kids are really blunt and, “Are you Chinese or Japanese?,” was the question I was most frequently first asked by peers in elementary school. If I answered, “I’m American,” it would never be an acceptable reply. It’s actually not uncommon to still be asked similar questions as an adult, “Where are you really from?” Often these questions stem from genuine curiosity (better than outright racial slurs or attacks, some might argue), but there are roots of prejudice and racism that imply that America is only truly “home” for people who look a certain way. 

Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month, to me, means having a platform to actively promote awareness by the highlighting the experiences and stories of Americans who are often discounted as being true Americans, simply based on their appearance.  It’s also a chance to celebrate the distinctive cultural elements that make each Asian and Pacific Islander heritage & experience special – from traditions, to foods, to languages, and histories- moving away from the tendency towards Asian fusion is important. The “model minority” and “silent minority” myths need to be deconstructed- and raising awareness is one way to do so. The largely Euro-centric and Western-based history curriculums taught for generations in the U.S. has led to massive underrepresentation and a very skewed worldview (and a sadly narrow understanding of what it means to be an American). So, opportunities like Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month ensures that marginalized voices are heard and that histories are more accurately preserved. 

It means there’s hope for a better, and more inclusive future, for all Americans.   

 

Dr. Jerry Park

Dr. Jerry Park

What is your position title or subject area?

Associate Professor of Sociology; I study identities and perceptions of racial and religious minorities with particular focus on Asian Americans. 

What are your passions?

In research I am passionate about social inclusion, social identity and prejudice/discrimination, mainly focused on race and religion. This leads me to more specialized data collection and research that centers on or includes minority experiences and perceptions. I am also passionate about making social science research accessible to broader audiences.  

Please give us your educational background.

Education: Attended Catholic schools which were very diverse culturally and attended an engineering and science magnet high school that was predominantly African American. Then attended the University of Virginia for undergraduate study in psychology and a minor in sociology. Then got a PhD in sociology at the University of Notre Dame. 

Working at Baylor since 2004.

 

Dr. Jo-Ann Tsang

Dr. Jo-Ann Tsang

What is your position title or subject area?

I am an Associate Professor of Psychology, with a specialization in social psychology, psychology of religion, and positive psychology.

Please give a little background information about yourself.

I was born and raised in California. My mother is from Hawaii and my father from Hong Kong. 

What are you passions?

My family, reading, and research methods.

Please give us your educational background.

University of California, Berkeley (B.A.)

University of Kansas (M.A., Ph.D.)

Postdoctoral research associate: Southern Methodist University

What does Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month mean to you?

It is a time to learn about and celebrate the contributions Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to our society.