Soo Mee Kim

Jollene Levid

Jollene Levid has been a full-time union organizer for over 19 years. She has been a Lead, a Regional Organizer at United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) for the last 9 years, and was co-coordinator of the 2019 UTLA strike and the 2023 UTLA solidarity strike. Previously, she was a Director and a union organizer and negotiator at CIR/SEIU and SEIU 721 healthcare locals, and for two short campaigns in the Philippines. Jollene was first trained and introduced to the labor movement by participating in the 2002 UCLA Labor Center Summer Internship Program and has organized full-time in Los Angeles since 2004.
Jollene is also a survivor and a feminist. Organizing with women saved her life, and for over 22 years, she has been a member of the anti-imperialist, transnational feminist organization AF3IRM, formerly serving as the National Chairperson and currently serving on its International Committee.
She got her Bachelor of Arts degree at UC Irvine in Political Science and Asian American Studies, where she organized in student movements for Filipino Studies, solidarity with workers on strike, and against the war. She received her Masters of Social Work from USC, with a concentration on Community Organization, Policy, Planning, and Organization. She was an inaugural UCLA Labor Movement Fellow in 2023.

Albert Kochaphum

Albert Sitipong Kochaphum holds a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from UCLA and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from San Francisco State University. From 2014 to 2021, he served as the Campus GIS Coordinator at UCLA, working on various research groups such as the Million Dollar HoodsUCLA Hate Crime Map, and the Mapping Asian American Political Potential project. He currently works at Los Angeles Metro, focusing on open data and real-time transit mapping projects.

Kochaphum currently volunteers as the Academic Lead for the United Nations Smart Maps group. He has also previously volunteered with organizations like StreetsForAll, creating a bot to tweet about traffic accidents.

Since 2021, he has been teaching courses on Web Development and GIS for Social Change. Kochaphum has been a speaker at the FOSS4G North America conference, the premier open geospatial technology and business conference, and the FOSS4G Asia 2023 conference in Seoul, Korea, which aimed to support the UN sustainable development goals agenda.

Drawing from his academic and civic engagement work, Kochaphum also works as an indie game developer, focusing on solar punk and post-capitalist games.

Jean-Paul R. Contreras deGuzman

Dr. deGuzman is an historian of 20th century America with a particular focus on comparative racialization, urban history, Asian Americans, and Los Angeles. His book project, tentatively entitled A Touch of Danger: Southern California’s San Fernando Valley and the Racial Politics of An American Dream, explores how communities of color claimed and contested that iconic American space. The rest of his publications focus on three major areas — comparative race studies of Los Angeles, Asian American communities, and the (inter)discipline of Asian American Studies — and cover topics as varied as the genesis of boba cafes, student activism for Asian American Studies, the evolution of Shin Buddhism in Los Angeles, and various flash points in San Fernando Valley history (from Cold War civil rights activism to the secession movement to the place-based politics of historical memory and preservation).

A past recipient of the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award, Dr. deGuzman’s pedagogy focuses on project-based learning and requires students to become engaged scholars adept at using historical analysis to understand themselves and the worlds around them. In addition to executing traditional research papers, his students have excavated and built a digital archive of a nearly century-old local Buddhist temple, created an ongoing catalogue of interethnic spaces in Los Angeles on Instagram, and, several successive Asian American history “pop-up” museums in the rotunda of Powell Library. Beyond the Asian American Studies Department, Dr. deGuzman regularly teaches a seminar on race, power, and Los Angeles in the Interracial Dynamics GE Cluster. He is also on the faculty of Windward School in Mar Vista where his greatest honor was getting selected to compete in the Windward Improv Troupe (W!T) annual student/faculty match.

Committed to public history, Dr. deGuzman helped found the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition, a network of civil rights activists, educators, descendants, and residents focused on the preservation of that World War II-era alien detention camp in Sunland-Tujunga. He has been an advisor to the L.A. Office of Historic Preservation and is a member of the archives and historic preservation committee of the Buddhist Churches of America, the oldest and largest Buddhist organization in the U.S.

Dr. deGuzman is an alumnus of the department having completed his M.A. thesis, portions of which were published in Adolescent Behavior Research Studies, under the direction of the late Don T. Nakanishi and Valerie J. Matsumoto.

 

Lily Anne Welty Tamai

Lily Anne Welty Tamai earned her doctorate in History from the University of California Santa Barbara. She conducted research in Japan and in Okinawa as a Fulbright Graduate Research Fellow and was also a Ford Foundation Fellow. Her forthcoming book titled, Military Industrial Intimacy: Mixed-race American Japanese, Eugenics and Transnational Identities, documents the history of mixed-race American Japanese and American Okinawans born after World War II and raised during the post-war period. Dr. Tamai was formerly the Curator of History at the Japanese American National Museum and currently serves on the U.S. Census Bureau National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations. At UCLA she teaches Asian American Studies 20, 20W, 30W, 115, 170, and 187C (Multiracial and Multiethnic Asian Americans).

Dr. Tamai has done service for the UCLA Mixed Student Union and the UCLA Southeast Asian Admit Program. She also serves on the Japanese American Citizens League Ventura County chapter board, and as a consultant for the Ventura County Maternal Mental Health Coalition. She has previously been a consultant for Wowow Network, NHK, Fuji TV, Yumiuri Shinbun, and Madama Butterfly, by Puccini for the The Norwegian Opera (Den Norske Operaen). She is currently working on articles about the historic preservation of a segregated Japanese cemetery in Ventura County, California and another on race in the Harry Potter series.

Kelly Fong

Dr. Kelly Fong (she/her) holds a Ph.D. in archaeology from UCLA with a graduate concentration in Asian American Studies. Her interdisciplinary work bridges her interest in Asian American social histories, community-based histories, and historical archaeology to examine everyday life through materials and memories left behind. Dr. Fong is involved with several research projects. In Isleton, Chinatown, she utilizes archaeological methods, material culture, and oral histories to explore everyday experiences during Exclusion in this Sacramento Delta community. Her work in Isleton has been featured in the Asian Americana podcast and the HBO series “Take Out with Lisa Ling” (2022). Dr. Fong is also the project co-lead for Five Chinatowns, a community place-based history project with the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California that documents five different Chinese American communities in Los Angeles city between 1882 and 1965. Drawing from archival sources and oral histories, Five Chinatowns is a multigenerational public history project that has involved training several cohorts of high school and college student interns in community-based oral history research. Finally, Dr. Fong is part of the research team examining Chinese American diasporic networks through 20th century restaurant ceramics distributed by F.S. Louie Company, a Berkeley-based wholesaler that supplied ceramics to many Chinese restaurants across the US.

Over the past decade, Dr. Fong has taught in Asian American Studies, history, and anthropology at multiple universities in Southern California. In addition to teaching in AASD at UCLA, she regularly teaches with the UCLA GE Cluster 20 (Race and Indigeneity) teaching team. Her approach to teaching draws from Ethnic Studies pedagogy and seeks to inspire students to make critical connections between what they are learning in the classroom to themselves, and to apply this knowledge to make a difference in their communities. To foster this pedagogical approach, Dr. Fong designs creative projects for her courses that engage learners and challenge them to apply their knowledge in different formats, including creating community newspapers inspired by Gidra, developing a community cookbook, and authoring a “People’s Guide” to Chinatown. In 2022, Dr. Fong was the first lecturer to receive the UCLA Asian American Studies Center’s C. Doris and Toshio Hoshide Distinguished Teaching Prize in Asian American Studies.

In addition to teaching for AASD, Dr. Fong is project co-director for the UCLA Asian American Studies Center’s Foundations and Futures: Asian American and Pacific Islander Multimedia Textbook. This narrative change project seeks to bring Asian American Studies to high school and college classrooms across the US and is scheduled to launch mid-2025.

Dr. Fong has also been active in advocating for institutional change and increased diversity within archaeology. She is a member of the Society for California Archaeology’s Coalition for Diversity in California Archaeology (CDCA) and she serves as co-taskforce lead for Asian American Pacific Islander archaeologists within the Coalition. Her work with CDCA has included pushing the Society for California Archaeology to commit to anti-racism training, developing an equity statement, and openly recognizing the need to address institutional inequities in the field.