Faculty & Staff

Core Faculty

JanelleWongJanelle Wong, Ph.D. (janellew@umd.edu)
Director, Asian American Studies Program and Resource Center
Professor, Department of American Studies
2119 Susqhehanna Hall

Janelle Wong is Director of the Asian American Studies Program and Resource Center. She received her PhD from the Department of Political Science at Yale University. She is also Professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland. Prior to joining the University of Maryland in 2012, she was at the University of Southern California in the Departments of Political Science and American Studies and Ethnicity. She also served as Executive Director of the Institute of Public Service at Seattle University (2011-12). Wong is author of Democracy’s Promise: Immigrants and American Civic Institutions (2006, University of Michigan Press) and co-author of two books on Asian American politics. The most recent is Asian American Political Participation: Emerging Constituents and their Political Identities (2011, Russell Sage Foundation), based on the first nationally representative survey of Asian Americans’ political attitudes and behavior. This groundbreaking study of Asian Americans was conducted in eight different languages with six different Asian national origin groups. Wong has received research funding from the Russell Sage Foundation, Irvine Foundation, and Carnegie Foundation. She was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC, in 2006-2007.

Wong’s research is on race, immigration, and political mobilization. Her current book project focuses on how growing numbers of Asian American and Latino evangelical Christians will impact the traditional conservative Christian movement and immigrant political participation. The study is based on qualitative interviews, participant observation in Los Angeles and Houston, and analysis of survey data. As a scholar and teacher, Wong has worked closely with social service, labor, civil rights, and media organizations that serve the Asian American population.

Julie Park, Ph.D. (juliepar@umd.edu)
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

Dr. Park teaches Introduction to Asian Americans Studies. Prior to joining the Maryland faculty in 2008, she was a research assistant professor in the School of Policy, Planning, and Development and the Associate Director of the Population Dynamics Research Group at the University of Southern California. She received her Ph.D. (2003) and M.A. (2001) in Sociology as well as a Master’s in Urban Planning (1998) from the University of Southern California. She received her B.A. in Sociology at the University of California, Davis. Professor Park’s research focuses on the adaptation process of immigrants in the United States, which includes the areas of immigration, demography, race, and urban studies. Her dissertation work focused on the socioeconomic adaptation of Southeast Asian immigrants. More broadly, she examines how various immigrant groups improve their socioeconomic status. In addition, she has constructed an innovative cohort method to assess the intergenerational mobility across immigrant generations. Lastly, Professor Park considers how residential segregation changes in new and established immigrant gateways.
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Adjunct Faculty

InstagramCapture_b0325914-8348-427f-a7f3-4468fea2804c_jpgLawrence-Minh Bùi Davis, Ph.D. (ldavis18@umd.edu)

Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis has taught Asian American literature, Asian American film, and mixed race studies for AAST-UMD since 2006. He is a founding director of the Washington, DC-based literary arts nonprofit The Asian American Literary Review and serves as co-editor-in-chief of its critically acclaimed literary journal. A consultant with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, he oversaw development of the Smithsonian’s first nationally touring pan-Asian Pacific American exhibition, “I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story,” and currently coordinates the Smithsonian Asian-Latino Project. He earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from San Diego State University in 2006 and a PhD in English Language and Literature with a focus on Asian American literature from the University of Maryland in 2014. His fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction have appeared in Gastronomica, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Kenyon Review, AGNI online, The Literary Review, and New York Quarterly, among other publications.


JPM Dizon Headshot

Jude Paul Dizon, M.Ed. (judepaul@umd.edu)

Jude Paul Dizon, M.Ed., serves as the Coordinator for Asian American & Pacific Islander Student Involvement & Advocacy in the Office of Multicultural Involvement & Community Advocacy (MICA) at the University of Maryland, College Park. In this role, Jude Paul promotes AAPI student retention, leadership and identity development through mentorship, programming, and advocacy. He also serves on the President’s Commission on Ethnic Minority Issues and is engaged in social justice initiatives on campus. Jude Paul teaches AAST 489I: Asian American & Pacific Islander Leadership.


gem daus_headshotGem Daus, M.A. (gdaus@umd.edu)

Gem P. Daus teaches Filipino American History and Biography, Asian American Health, and Asian American Sexualities. His classes emphasize identity development and community building as it intersects with public policy. His teaching is informed by 20 years of community based advocacy for equitable access to health care. In 2010, Gem received a student-nominated award for a UMD faculty member whose excellence in teaching has changed the lives of her/his students: changed or reinforced their career direction, made a difference in how they view the world, been there for them as a mentor, or improved their understanding of challenging material. In his spare time, Gem plays soccer and dances hula.



Deepa Iyer, Esq. (diyer@umd.edu)
Lecturer and Activist-in-Residence

Deepa Iyer has 15 years of experience working with Asian American communities in the DC area and around the country. She was the first Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), the only national organization addressing policy issues affecting the South Asian American community. During her nearly ten-year tenure at SAALT, Deepa developed a national coalition of local South Asian groups, testified before Congress on immigration reform, and became a visible media spokesperson on civil and immigrant rights issues. Deepa chaired the National Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans for two years. She has also worked as a Trial Attorney at the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, and as the Legal Director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center in DC.

Deepa has taught two courses at the University of Maryland as an adjunct professor through the Asian American Studies Program and Resource Center and is also the Program’s Activist-in-Residence for the 2014-2015 academic year. She is currently working on a book about the changing American racial landscape to be published by The New Press in 2015. Deepa earned her undergraduate degree in English at Vanderbilt University and her law degree at the University of Notre Dame Law School.



Mimi Khúc, Ph.D. (mimikhuc@umd.edu)

Mimi Khúc is a queer Vietnamese American scholar, teacher, and writer. She writes and teaches on race and religion, queer of color politics, mental health, and Asian American motherhood. She received her PhD in Religious Studies from the University of California Santa Barbara, and has taught courses in the fields of Asian American studies, women of color studies, and religious studies since 2008. Mostl recently at UMD, she has taught courses on Vietnamese Americans, the Asian American “second generation,” and “What is Religion?”.




Phil Tajitsu Nash, Esq. (pnash@umd.edu)

Phil Tajitsu Nash has served as the Founding Executive Director of the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC),  Staff Attorney at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), Curator at the Asian Pacific American Program at the 2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and columnist for the N.Y. Nichibei and Asian Week newspapers.  He has taught law, urban studies, and APA history, art, oral history, and public policy classes at UMCP, Yale, NYU, City College of New York, and CUNY and Georgetown law schools.

Phil is a strong believer in experiential education, and incorporates oral histories, community outreach, field trips, and group-based activities into each of his classes.  His most recent campus activities include participating in a campus-wide initiative to help students develop Cultural Competence, and working with the Latin American Studies Center to bring Study Abroad students to study indigenous communities and rainforest conservation issues in the Brazilian Amazon.


small_thammarathMonica Thammarath (mkst@umd.edu)

Monica Thammarath teaches Southeast Asian Americans: Resettlement, the Second Generation, and Beyond. Her class raises up the experiences of underrepresented Asian American groups in the United States, with a focus on Southeast Asian Americans (Hmong, Cambodian, Laotian, Vietnamese, and other groups). The class builds on Monica’s background and experience advocating, organizing, and providing services nationally and locally around access to affordable and high quality education. The daughter of refugees from Laos, Monica was born and raised in southeast San Diego, California and is a proud product of California’s public K-16 education system. She earned a BA in Social Welfare, BA in Political Science, and minor in Asian American Studies at University of California, Berkeley as well as a MPA from American University’s School of Public Affairs.


neha photoNeha Singhal, M.Ed.

Neha Singhal is a social justice educator, full-spectrum doula, and proud graduate of the University of Maryland. While at Maryland, she brought back to life the Yuri Kochiyama Leadership Program as a means to bring Asian American Studies to local API high school students. She went on to work with a grassroots immigrant justice organization at the Texas-Mexico border, where she also supervised several critical service learning trips from colleges across the country. During her graduate studies she had the opportunity to teach undergraduate courses on institutionalized racism and taught a series of workshops on sexism at a high school in rural Massachusetts. Neha strongly believes in the power of working with youth on building analysis of social identity, systems of oppression, and resistance in order to equip them with the tools necessary to struggle for self & collective liberation.

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Affiliate Faculty

Feinian Chen, Professor, Sociology
Perla Guerrero, Assistant Professor, American Studies
Derek Iwamoto, Assistant Professor, Psychology
Jason Kuo, Professor, Art History
Seung-Kyung Kim, Professor and Chair, Women’s Studies
Esther Kim Lee, Associate Professor, Theater
Sunmin Lee, Associate Professor, School Public Health
Timothy Ng, Professor Emeritus, Plant Science & Landscape Architecture
Sharada Balachandran Orihuela, Assistant Professor, English
Jan Padios, Assistant Professor, American Studies
Julie J. Park, Assistant Professor, Education
Joann Prosser, Director of Assessment and Research, Residential Life
Jon Sumida, Professor, History
Ashwini Tambe, Associate Professor, Women’s Studies
Cixin Wang, Counseling, Higher Educatiosn and Special Education
Colleen Woods, Assistant Professor, History
Willow Lung-Amam, Assistant Professor, Urban Studies and Planning Program

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Program Staff

Grace H. Lee (gleeaast@umd.edu)
Senior Coordinator of Programs 
2125 Susquehanna Hall 

Grace Lee is the Senior Coordinator of Programs for the Asian American Studies Program and Resource Center and is responsible for managing the daily operations of the office, including supervising staff and students. Grace works closely with the scholarship committee, provides curriculum support, and serves on the AAST Program Advisory Committee. In addition, Grace is the AAST academic advisor. Prior to joining AAST, Grace administered an international educational initiative between the Republic of Korea and the U.S. State Department. She has also worked in South Korea serving as an administrator and teacher at Seoul National University and Hongik University. Grace’s interests include watching foreign films, going hiking, and reading short stories. Grace graduated with a B.A. in Spanish and Urban Studies from New York University, a Masters in Higher Education Administration from Harvard University, and a J.D. from Pennsylvania State University.

Jessica J. Lee (jisun@umd.edu)
Business and Planning Coordinator
2118 Susqhehanna Hall

Jessica Lee is the Business and Planning Coordinator at the Asian American Studies Program and Resource Center and is responsible for providing fiscal and budgetary management support, event planning, publication design and production, and marketing and recruitment. She is actively engaged with the student body and is currently serving as the advisor of several Asian American-interest student organizations at the university. Jessica’s passions include serving and mentoring the youth in her community, trying all types of ethnic foods, and experimenting with different forms of art and design. She is an alumna of the University of Maryland and graduated with a B.S. in Architecture.

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