Professor/TA Profiles

I’m a dual masters’ student in Asian American Studies and Community Health Sciences. Previously, I earned my BA in Human Biology from Stanford University and then went on to become a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Vietnam before coming to UCLA. My research interests include social determinants of health, mental health, Asian American communities, gender and sexuality, Vietnamese diaspora, and sociopolitical movements. I have a passion for community organizing, photography, and watching Terrace House on Netflix. I am also a Young Professional Board Member for CollegeSpring, a nonprofit that seeks to help low-income high students attend college through SAT tutoring and mentorship.






I am the Director of the Freshman Cluster program, as well as an instructor in the Life Sciences Core course and in the Physiological Sciences major. My research is in paleontology, although my focus here at UCLA is on teaching.







Professor Robinson writes and teaches about the history of political violence, genocide, human rights, and mass incarceration, primarily in Southeast Asia. His major works include: The Dark Side of Paradise: Political Violence in Bali (Cornell, 1995); East Timor 1999: Crimes against Humanity (Elsham & Hak, 2006); “If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die”: How Genocide Was Stopped in East Timor (Princeton, 2010); and most recently, The Killing Season: A History of the Indonesian Massacres, 1965-66 (Princeton, 2018). A Canadian, he earned his BA at McGill University and his PhD at Cornell. Before coming to UCLA in 1997, Robinson worked for six years at Amnesty International’s Research Department in London, and in 1999 he served as a Political Affairs Officer with the United Nations in Dili, East Timor. His current projects include a co-edited volume of photographs and images related to the mass violence of 1965-66 in Indonesia, and a book on the history of mass killing in the United States, entitled Running Amok in America.




Dr. Jung-Kim teaches upper-division courses on Korean history, various Fiat Lux courses, Intro to East Asia, and an Honors seminar looking at women’s activism in the early 20th century.







I am an Assistant Professor in the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). I received my undergraduate education in physics at Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS, Paris) before pursuing a Ph.D. in condensed matter at Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC, Paris). I then joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a postdoctoral associate. My research focuses on understanding the underlying physics governing the behavior of materials of engineering interest—by theory, modeling, and simulations. I have published more than 80 scientific papers based on my research. I traveled to Viet Nam three times and I am a big fan of banh mi and ca phe sua da!




Lily Anne Welty Tamai is a lecturer at UCLA in the Asian American Studies Department. She earned a doctorate in History from the University of California Santa Barbara and was a visiting scholar in the UCLA Asian American Studies Center. Dr. Tamai conducted research in Japan and in Okinawa as a Fulbright Graduate Research Fellow and was also a Ford Foundation Fellow. Her research documents the history of mixed-race American Japanese born after World War II and raised during the post-war period. She has published chapters in Hapa Japan (Kaya Press 2017), Global Mixed Race (NYU Press 2014), and articles in Southern California Quarterly, Pan Japan, and Immigration Studies. She also serves on the U.S. Census Bureau National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations.




Uyen Hoang (she/hers, they/theirs) is from Garden Grove, Orange County and is the middle child of five in her Vietnamese American family. In 2014, she received at BA in International Development Studies and Asian American Studies from UCLA. Currently, she is a graduate student pursuing her Masters in Asian American Studies and Masters of Public Health at UCLA. Her research interests employ queer and feminist frameworks to explore Vietnamese diasporic narratives, racial health inequities, radical community capacity building, and arts based health interventions.






Nguyễn-võ Thu-hương holds a split appointment in Asian Languages and Cultures, and Asian American Studies. She is working on a book project on ways to understand the responses of people who must live with violence or the memory thereof caused by economic and political practices. Her other research projects explore the politics of time in futurist visions from the (inter)colonial moment to the present in cultural works by Indochinese, Vietnamese, African American, and other artists, writers, and activists. She teaches graduate seminars in critical theory and undergraduate courses in Vietnamese and Vietnamese American politics and culture.




I grew up in Cambodiatown in Long Beach, California and studied Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. I am in the dual-MA in Asian American Studies and Social Welfare programs, and for my thesis, I am discussing Southeast Asian American deportation and community resistance against it, and analyzing how U.S. systems (such as racialization, school-to-prison-pipeline, etc.) impacted Southeast Asian refugee communities which ultimately led to high rates of criminalization and incarceration. Instead of writing a formal thesis, I am creating a documentary to make my research accessible to the general public. Outside of academia, I love teaching and have experience as a preschool teacher. I love kids! I run a photography business as a side job. During my free time, I cuddle with my little Jack Russel Terrier mix!





I am a 2nd year student in a dual masters program in Asian American studies and social welfare (social work). I am currently a social science graduate mentor at AAP GMRP. My research interests include mental health, ethnic Chinese diasporas in Southeast Asia, Southeast Asian refugee encounters with social services, settler colonialism, and womxn of color feminism. As an undergraduate student at UCLA I co-chaired the Southeast Asian Transfer Enrichment Day (SEATED) and I was also involved with SEACLEAR’s Transfer Work Group, the Asian Pacific Coalition, and the Asian Pacific Islander Undergraduate Association. I like to spend my free time with my dog/child, Bagel at the dog park or dog beach.





My name is Benjamin Ha and I am a 1st year PhD student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in Dr. David Jacobs’ lab. I am a former undergraduate transfer student, and I represent first-generation, low-income, Southeast Asians, and non-traditional students. I graduated from New York University with a B.A. in English and American Literature, and then after working full-time for about two years as a program coordinator, I pursued post-baccalaureate studies to change careers to biology. My research interests entail exploring how human impacts have altered marine species and communities. I also have a strong passion to increase opportunities for first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented minorities interested in pursuing a career in STEM. I am currently the STEM Graduate Mentor at the Academic Advancement Program (AAP) and a graduate mentor for UCLA’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Pathways to Success Program. Outside of academia, I like to dance hip hop and contemporary, eat chocolate, and watch movies (when I have money).


I am a 2nd-year MA student in Asian American Studies; I received a BA in linguistics from the University of Maryland. My current research focuses on tracing narratives of racialized Asian labor through Western reportage on wars in the Pacific and investigating how they have been transformed in modern global disaster films. I am generally really excited about research on multiple-diaspora or twice-minority cultural production, the effects of new/emerging media (YouTube, Vine, etc.) on film, and Asian American genre film/fiction. In my spare time I knit, practice martial arts, and write fiction.






Dr. Jolie Chea is currently a part-time faculty member at UCLA and Cal State Northridge. A child of Cambodian refugees, she grew up in Los Angeles and completed her undergraduate studies in Ethnic Studies and Sociology at UC Riverside. She then went on to complete a master’s degree in Asian American Studies at UCLA and a doctorate in American Studies and Ethnicity at USC. She has spent nearly two decades working alongside various immigrant, women, and queer youth of color communities, and one decade organizing with prison abolition movements in Los Angeles. Broadly, her areas of research include: Asian American and Ethnic Studies, Critical Refugee Studies, Cambodian American Studies, Chinese Diaspora in Southeast Asia.





Supeena Insee Adler is a performer and ethnomusicologist living in San Diego, California. She performs and teaches classical Thai music on traditional stringed instruments. Her areas of interest are mediums, healing rituals and music in Northeast Thailand and Southern Laos, literature in Thai traditional music performance, and Okinawa minyo. She is very active in organizing cultural and educational events in Thai communities and academics. She is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor and a musical instrument curator at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, Department of Ethnomusicology where she is running a Music of Thailand Ensemble class.





I research and teach subjects related to the intertwined histories of Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders in the United States and globally.






Dr. Kelly Fong is a fifth-generation Chinese American, historical archaeologist, and Asian American Studies scholar. Her doctorate is from UCLA in Archaeology, where she studied the historical archaeology of early-20th century Asian American communities. Her work bridges her passion for Asian American social histories, family histories, and historical archaeology to study everyday life in Exclusion-era Isleton Chinatown, located in California’s Sacramento Delta. She currently is a Lecturer in Asian American Studies at UCLA and at California State University, Northridge.





My name is Jessica Thach and I am currently pursuing my Master’s in Higher Education & Organizational Change (HEOC). I’m a Bay Area native – born and raised in Oakland, CA. Growing up, I was exposed to and experienced the reality of struggling communities – the lack of social justice and educational equity. My upbringing developed my passion for community development and youth empowerment, leading me to be consistently involved in diverse community-based and student organizations from the Bay Area to the Greater Los Angeles Area to serve low-income, first-gen, and underrepresented students to reach for higher education. Alongside, my Southeast Chinese identity (ethnic Chinese from Vietnam) grounds my work in bridging academic research and community to deconstruct complex theories into tangible explanations from a culturally relevant lens. My research interests include college access, Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) data disaggregation, and most importantly, the overlooked hustle of AAPI & SEAA communities.


Laurel Westrup is a Continuing Lecturer with UCLA Writing Programs, and she also teaches with the Honors Program on campus. Her Ph.D. (from UCLA) is in Cinema and Media Studies, so her courses often incorporate media studies components. Her research looks at the intersection of media and popular music. She is co-editor of the book Sampling Media, and she is currently co-editing a book on soundtrack albums and writing a book on music videos. As part of this work, she is interested in issues of cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation, a topic on which she teaches an Honors seminar. She enjoys teaching students at all levels, from freshmen in English Composition 3 to seniors in the Business Economics major. She is especially interested in student professionalization, which is a major theme of her English Composition 131B (Writing for Business and Social Policy) class. In addition to teaching, she is the coordinator of the Graduate Certificate in Writing Pedagogy, a program that helps train graduate students to be thoughtful university instructors. Laurel loves to travel, and she was especially excited to spend several months in Viet Nam between her undergraduate and graduate degrees. When she first came to UCLA as an MA student in 2002, she was involved with organizing the first Vietnamese International Film Festival (now Viet Film Fest) in Irvine.

Environmental engineering: My research is to develop green infrastructure that treat rain/storm water for reuse and minimize contamination of environment.


I am currently a first-year PhD student in Education, in the division of Social Studies and Comparative Education (SSCE). Additionally, I am a TA for the Vietnamese for Heritage Speakers. My research interests are global citizenship education, social studies curriculum, and the internationalization of education. Prior, I was a social studies, French and English teacher in France, Taiwan, Singapore and California. I enjoy learning languages and practicing yoga.