Through out my career, I have studied Asian diasporas in the United States, East Asia, and Southeast Asia. I examine how these distributed communities of immigrants produce and transmit their collective experiences, material cultures, and cultural practices across time and space through multigenerational relationships, social kinship, civic organizations, and civil societies, locally and transnationally. My research includes the analysis of gendered narratives about migration in a wide array of activities and sources: family letters, cultural heritage organizations, food practices at home and in restaurants, and art/craft-making in WWII Japanese American incarceration camps and single gender Asian American social clubs. I collect oral histories and conduct archival research and ethnographic fieldwork.
In addition to my written scholarship, I am the writer/director of several documentary films, including the award-winning Homecoming about my family's cross-generational memories of migration from Malaysia to American. My films have screened nationally and internationally at film festivals, academic conferences, art galleries, public libraries, and on public television. I have received fellowships, grants, and awards from organizations and institutions such as the American Library Association, UCLA Institute for American Cultures, and American Anthropology Association. I have contributed to books, journals, and encyclopedias in the areas of archival science, Asian American studies, and gender studies. I have given invited presentations around the world in the United States, Canada, Korea, and Taiwan.
I have over fifteen years teaching experience. I was a lecturer in the Asian American Studies Department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and taught courses in documentary filmmaking and visual ethnography. Many of the films that the students made in my classes have screened in film festivals and are regularly shown in other courses at UCLA. Students from my classes have gone on to have successful careers in the entertainment industry as actors, screenwriters, comedians, and directors.
I also served as the Assistant Director for the UCLA Center for EthnoCommunications at the Asian American Studies Center for seven years, where I developed, produced, and promoted media about and by Asian Americans and their communities. The Center's educational media projects and documentaries have been funded by the National Endowment of the Arts and California Humanities Foundation.
I originally hail from the East Coast, growing up in Maryland and attending college in Pennsylvania. I have a B.A. in East Asian Studies, graduating cum laude. I received my Ph.D. from UCLA in 2015. I was have a M.F.A. in Directing from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and TV.