“I earned my PhD in Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Over the past six decades, UC Berkeley’s Department of Sociology has consistently ranked among the sociology departments in the world. Currently, I am a Full Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Davis. I am one of only a small handful of Filipinas who have achieved the rank of Full Professor at a major research university in the entire country. I was, furthermore, the first Pinay to serve as chair in the Asian American Studies’ department’s 50-year history. I am also the Founding Director of the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies, the first of its kind in the University of California system and nationally focused on the Filipinx experience in the United States.
I am a widely published and award-winning scholar with expertise in global migration (with particular focus on the Philippine labor diaspora) as well as Asian American issues and a highly sought-after, dynamic speaker who has addressed a broad range of audiences around the world.
But who am I, really?
I am an activist-scholar whose research and teaching interests have long been driven by my commitments to social justice. I have engaged in anti-imperialism and anti-racism work at the local, national and global levels for over two decades. I’ve been especially committed to Philippine/Filipinx issues, but not exclusively. I grew up in the suburb of Union City, CA where people of color are in the majority. I attended public school from kindergarten through high school (with the exception of three years at a Catholic school in a neighboring city, when my dad feared that the gang activity in our local schools was increasing) in the New Haven Unified School District. Due to a number of circumstances, I was a self-supporting student through most of my undergraduate career, earning my bachelor’s degree after attending classes at a community college and then transferring to one of the University of California campuses while also juggling several jobs and working as a campus activist. I managed to get accepted to a number of PhD programs and decided to pursue my doctoral studies in Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Graduate school was incredibly difficult, mainly because academia is classist, racist and sexist (I blog about some of grad school experiences). Nevertheless, I managed to have my entire graduate school education paid for through fellowships and grants (yay to affirmative action!), finished my doctorate in 2005 and immediately got a job at a research university upon graduating.”