Gabby Lupola

Gabby Lupola (she/her) is of Chamorro and Italian descent and has spent most of her life on the ancestral, unceded lands of the Luiseno and Kumeyaay, also known as Oceanside, CA. She received a Bachelor’s in History (with a thematic track of the Transpacific) and a minor in Italian Studies from Pomona College and is currently a second year in the Asian American Studies Master’s Program. Her research focuses on Pacific Islander history, identity and culture both on island and in diaspora. Her thesis will unpack the complexities of Chamorro diaspora through a comparative framework of those who grew up on island but then migrate to the Turtle Island/the continental U.S. and those who move back home to Guahan/Guam despite growing up stateside. In addition to her own research, she works as a Teaching Assistant for the AASD department and as the Mentorship Coordinator for INSPIRE (Improving, Nurturing, and Sustaining Pacific Islander Retention and Education) held under UCLA’s Community Programs Office (CPO). She is a staunch advocate for community-engaged learning and research, building solidarity between and among Indigenous communities, and bringing awareness to Pacific Islander histories, epistemologies, and present-day struggles whilst working within the Asian American Pacific Islander umbrella framework. In her free time, she loves to collect vinyl records, go to concerts, and spend time with friends and family (especially when it’s to gather for a meal).

Catherine Ho

Catherine Ho (she/her) grew up in Louisville, KY (Shawnee, Cherokee, and Chickasaw land). Prior to coming to this program, she studied Neuroscience and Ethnicity, Migration, Rights at Harvard College. She is currently interested in questions of family, refuge(e), legibility, abolition, and the possibilities and limitations of legal advocacy. Her MA thesis explores the vexxed appeals to family and kinship in Southeast Asian refugee anti-deportation advocacy. What are we to make of a strategy that may gesture toward other kinship formations that cannot be contained and co-opted by the state but also may uphold fundamentally anti-abolitionist and anti-Black notions of deservingness? At its core, the project asks how deportation, a fundamentally state-facing procedure, forces us to consider less violent and more liberating modes of engagement with power and with each other. Catherine also loves hiking, kayaking, baking, watching Vietnamese comedy, and perusing the aisles of Costco!

Ravindu Ranawaka

Ravindu Ranawaka (they/them) is a Sri Lankan American scholar, model, artist, and activist from Simi Valley, CA (Chumash land). They received their Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Asian American Studies from the University of California, Riverside. They are a second-year M.A. student in Asian American Studies. Their research focuses on transgender South Asian American temporal framings within queer nightlife spaces. Their thesis utilizes South Asian transfeminist epistemologies to articulate the impact of “trans birth” and “trans death” on “trans rebirth” and non/anti normative identity formations to communicate the disrupting of cisheteronormative “timelines” that are contingent on biological family and reproduction. In their free time, Ravindu enjoys going clubbing, styling outfits, thrifting, watching Drag Race, critical gossip, and critiquing str*ight culture.

Yukino Torrey

Yukino Torrey (she/her/hers) received her Bachelor of Arts in Asian American Studies from UCLA, and is currently a second year in the Asian American Studies graduate program. She is interested in and wants to learn more about the relationship between Japanese Americans and contemporary Japanese immigrants. In her free time she enjoys hiking (especially with her family’s dog), trying out new food places and media recommendations from friends and family, and spending time with loved ones.

April Yang

April Yang is pursuing her MA in Asian American Studies and MSW at UCLA. Her research is focused on gender-based violence against women in Hmong American communities. She received her BA in World Arts and Cultures and Asian American Studies from UCLA in 2015. She has worked primarily in the public sector with underserved and underrepresented communities in her hometown, Sacramento, CA.

David Choi

David Choi (he/him) is a second-generation, queer Korean American from North Carolina and a second-year graduate student in the Asian American Studies MA program. Broadly, he is interested in understanding how intergenerational trauma, historiography, and conservatism relate in Korean American churches using the frameworks of transpacific Korean studies, neoliberalism, and hauntology. He is also interested in Asian American literature and the role it plays in memory and healing. He received a B.S. in Psychology and Neuroscience from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with minors in Creative Writing and Medicine, Literature, and Culture. In his free time, he enjoys listening to audiobooks, trying to write short stories, and taking nostalgic walks in K-town.

Esther Se Bin Kim

Esther Se Bin Kim (She/They) is a 1.5-generation Korean-American from San Francisco. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Humanities and a minor in Asian American Studies at UCLA in 2020. She is currently a first-year graduate student pursuing an M.A. in Asian American Studies. Her research focuses on investigating currently existing methods of promoting educational equity within the University of California system for undocumented East Asian students, while also examining the legal and socio-cultural nuances that comprise the seemingly paradoxical experience of being both East Asian and undocumented. She is passionate about grassroots organizing and mutual aid work, specifically on unhoused advocacy and food justice. In her free time, she enjoys powerlifting, binge-watching anime, listening to true crime podcasts, and mindlessly scrolling down her Tik-Tok For You page.

Ghaliah Fakhoury

Ghaliah Fakhoury (she/her) is a first-generation Arab American taking the next step in her academic journey as part of the Asian American Studies MA program. Her research primarily centers Arab/West Asian diasporic communities in the U.S. As a child of the Arab diaspora and in the wake of 9/11, rather than shying away from her Arab heritage, Ghaliah found herself tightly grasping onto it — specifically through Arab music. Inspired by her own experience, Ghaliah’s research explores how music roots displaced peoples, and music as a connection to self and homeland. Prior to joining the Bruin family, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a minor in Ethnic and Women’s Studies/Gender and Sexuality Studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. In her free time, Ghaliah enjoys discovering music from around the globe, being out in open spaces, surrounding herself with family and friends, indulging in tasty eats, iced coffee, and savoring moments of joy.

Zach Anderson

Zach Anderson (he/him) is a CHamoru/Pinoy writer and journalist who was born on ‘Amuwu land (Lompoc, CA) and raised on Nisenan land (Sacramento). Before joining the Asian American Studies department, he was a contributor to AsAm News where he covered Pacific Islander communities both on the islands and on the continental United States. He was also the managing editor of the BIPOC literary collective Think in Ink and briefly served as a communications consultant for the 2022 Kylie Taitano congressional campaign.
Zach’s research focuses on the relations between Asian American and Pacific Islander youth living in the diaspora. When he is not reading, writing, or researching, he enjoys gardening and birding. His writing can also be found at Eclectica magazine.

Trinity Gabato

Trinity Gabato (she/her) is a third generation Filipina and Vietnamese American from Alameda, California. She received her Bachelors in Sociology and Film with a minor in Asian American Studies from Claremont Mckenna College. While in the UCLA Asian American Studies program, Trinity hopes to research the ways in which institutional racism, classism, and sexism affects Southeast Asian women who participate in intimate labor. Trinity likes to eat ice cream (Jeni’s is my fave), binge watch reality T.V., and skateboarding on the beach boardwalk!