Skip to main content

Student Testimonies/Alumni Updates

Jennifer W. Chen

Jennifer W. Chen, Class of 2019 

Major: Doctor of Pharmacy
Minor: Asian American Studies

Current Status:

After graduation, Jennifer will be completing a Regulatory Pharmaceutical Fellowship, rotating between positions at Eli Lilly, the FDA, and Purdue University.


As an Asian American from a diverse neighborhood on the East coast, coming to Indiana led me to learn so much about my identity and what it means to be Asian American. Not only did I learn through getting involved in the student organizations and the diverse community at Purdue, but taking Asian American studies courses really opened my eyes to the history and the true meaning behind our role as Asian Americans on campus. After taking my first ASAM course, I took more and more courses out of pure interest, and before I realized it, I was able to fulfill the requirements for a minor. I wanted to learn more about myself and about the struggles and successes our community has faced in the past. ASAM courses also served as a welcomed break from my long list of required pharmacy courses, and they became courses that I would look forward to attending throughout each semester. Because of Asian American studies, I became inspired to really make a difference and support our small, but growing, Asian American and Asian community at Purdue. In the future, I look forward to pursuing a career within the realm of public health and using the knowledge and tools I’ve gained through the ASAM minor to continue serving as a voice for Asian Americans, beyond the Purdue community. 


Inna F. Cuntapay

Inna F. Cuntapay, Class of 2017 

Major: Political Science
Minor: Asian American Studies, Psychology

Current Status:

Immediately following graduation, Inna worked as an intern for Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly in Washington, DC. Currently, she is working full time as a campaign manager for a candidate running for a seat in the Indiana House of Representatives.


Being a part of both the College of Liberal Arts and the Honors College allowed a lot of flexibility when it came to my curriculum. Originally, I enrolled in Introduction to Asian American Studies in order to fulfill my degree requirements. However, as the course progressed, I found myself engaging with the course material in ways that I had not in my other classes. Growing up in Indiana, it was never a priority to me to express my Asian American identity. After learning of the significance of ethnic studies and deciding to pursue an Asian American Studies minor, I felt my ‘in-between’ identity validated. As a Political Science major, when I had the opportunity to intern for the Indiana House Democratic Caucus, I directly felt the impact of the lack of Asian American voices in the legislative process. In the future, I hope to use the knowledge that I’ve gained through the Asian American Studies Program and integrate it with my Political Science background in order to champion for Asian American involvement in all facets of U.S. government.

Nadia Arzberger

Nadia Arzberger, Class of 2017 

Major: Anthropogy 
Minor: Asian American Studies; Forensic Science; Psychology

Current Status:

Nadia is currently a student at National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan studying Chinese but this fall (2019) will be going to University of Hawaii-Manoa to obtain her Master's degree in anthropology.  


Being an Asian American, and taking the various Asian American Studies classes has really helped me understand the complex history that Asian/Americans have had. It was refreshing to take these courses and to learn that I was not alone in the struggle of living in America trying to find my Asian American identity. Taking ASAM had opened a new door of interests and helped me develop them into a (will be) Master's thesis. Professor Trieu is an amazing teacher who not only taught really interesting classes like ASAM Pop Culture and Contemporary Issues in Asian American Studies that was fun and informative and gave me the chance to learn about other Asian American experiences but she also helped me so much outside of the classroom giving me guidance and advice to help me determine my future. 

William Leu

William Leu, Class of 2012

Major: Sociology
Minor: Asian American Studies

Current Status:

Commercial Property Manager for S3 Property Management, Inc.; Co-Program Director for the Taiwanese American Foundation Summer Conference Juniors Program; Disciple of Kate Agathon


I teeter on the edge of hyperbole, but I cannot gloss over the fact that the ASAM studies program profoundly changed my life for the better. It was because of ASAM studies that I became involved with the Asian American student organizations at Purdue, that I was able to have an opportunity to serve with the Taiwanese American Foundation outside of college, and make some of the most endearing friendships that I count on to this day. Prof. Agathon and Prof. Aparajita were amazing instructors inside and outside of the classroom who provided creative assignments and facilitated engaging dialogues that moonlighted as essential identity shaping vehicles of personal change. I will gladly throw down bills and coin (and at this point in my life, mostly coin) to the Purdue donation solicitation phone jockeys in order to support the ASAM program.

Jacklin Nguyen, Class of 2012

Major: Visual Communications Design
Minor: Psychology & Asian American Studies

Current Status:

Current Status: Business Analyst, government contractor in the metro Washington DC area; member of the Board of Directors for the Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of the Midwest.


Taking ASAM classes allowed me to learn more on the textbook side about the struggles of Asian Americans in the US and where the issues initially stemmed from in terms of historical events and the immigration of Asians to the United States over the course of the centuries. Being involved with many Asian-interest student organizations during my college career, taking what I learned from the ASAM classes helped me bring knowledge and factual information to my peers and share my experiences combining them with what we studied.

James Shan, Class of 2012

Major: Political Science
Minor: Asian American Studies

Current Status:

Advanced Product Specialist at Hearsay Social.


Growing up Asian in America, there is this overarching Asian American identity that covers such a broad gamut of people. For better or worse, we, as Asian Americans, are seen as a unified entity despite the numerous ethnic groups that differ from each other so greatly within this broader entity. Taking ASAM courses had made me aware of the issues that my 'race' faces in American society, as well as helped me better connect with my ancestry and 'race'. Being able to hear from other Asian Americans and their thoughts and experiences is something that truly helps me feel connected in the world, as there is very limited Asian American exposure in mainstream media. ASAM was one of the biggest shapers of my political and cultural identity in school. It helps me put words and coherent thoughts to many of the feelings that I had felt for a long time. It gave me context for these feelings and made me feel more connected to the greater American society.