Asian American Studies
Current | Alumni

Although a small major in terms of numbers, Asian American Studies attracts a wide range of students. Read more about the students who are currently pursuing majors or minors in the AAS program and see what alumni have to say about how Asian American Studies prepared them for careers in the real world.

"Like many pre-meds, I came to Stanford intending to solely major in Biology or Chemistry, but now I'm a junior double majoring in Asian American Studies and Biology. I starting hearing about CSRE and AAS when I was a freshman at Okada, but I wasn't able to fit a class into my schedule. As I got increasingly involved in the API community, I started to get more integrated with students from the CSRE community. Because of my involvement in the community and my health interests, I became interested in looking at the intersection of race and health, specifically regarding cross-cultural competency and mental health in Asian Americans, and AAS has really provided me with the opportunity to explore these interests. In addition, AAS has become really pivotal in enabling me to discover more about my identity and culture. The most valuable part of being part of the CSRE is being part of a close-knit community that is very supportive and encouraging of its students endeavors. I've been able to further explore my interests in Asian American health through the CSRE Community Research Summer Internship. I was able to go back home to Atlanta, GA, and I research about cross-cultural competency and was able to work with a nonprofit to develop a health program for Asian Americans."
-- Tina Duong, 2012, AAS & Bio major
"Asian American Studies has provided me with the knowledge and language to be able to understand my experiences as a Vietnamese American. While my academic focus has been on Biology and Psychology, the minor that I'm taking in Asian American Studies has been able to ground my coursework into the community that I came from, so that I don't drift into doing science without a purpose, but to work towards the betterment of my community through my chosen profession."
-- Michael To, 2010, AAS Minor
"In identifying myself as "Asian American," I am compartmentalizing myself under one convenient label. In choosing to major in Asian American Studies, I have been able to understand this label as more than a mere sum of its parts. The major in Asian American Studies has allowed me to be flexible in my approach to scholarship-- taking classes across multiple disciplines, learning from faculty who tie learning with personal growth, and interrelating with diverse peers in intellectually-stimulating environments. In the classroom, I am able to link seemingly disparate aspects of social life under a greater, overarching frame in order to reveal larger truths. I strongly believe my positive experiences with Asian American Studies and CSRE have allowed me to become a more well-informed and engaged citizen."
-- Susan Chen, 2010, AAS & IR Major
"I initially chose to major in Asian American Studies because for me, the process of choosing where to focus my attentions in college was a process rife with priority evaluation and identity-searching, which led me to discover the significant role identity–-though constantly changing–-plays in the way one chooses to live and contribute to the world. I have not been disappointed in Asian American Studies, which allows me to partake in courses that cover my wide disciplinary interests, interact with outstanding and passionate faculty, and most of all, continue learning about who I am and how to better understand the world around me."
-- Jill Yuziriha, 2008, AAS & Biology Major
"Majoring in AAS gives me access to CSRE’s rich resources, including research and internship opportunities and advising by top faculty. It also allows me to integrate my academic interests into my extracurricular activities and summer internships. Most importantly, AAS challenges me everyday to think critically about identity and community, the two most important things I came to college to find."
-- Cynthia Liao, 2009, AAS Major
"As a first-generation college student at Stanford, I have had to grapple with the fact that many of my classmates, mostly Southeast Asians and other minorities, did not enroll in college after high school. Through Asian American-related courses, I learned about the vast inequalities in this country that continue to relegate minorities such as my classmates to the margins of society. Through an Asian American political science class, I developed an interest in how Asian Americans and other minorities can use the political system to address their needs. As a result of the class, I conducted research on the increasing political clout of Hmong in Minnesota, and I am currently writing a thesis on Hmong political involvement in Minnesota and California."
-- Yang Lor, 2008, AAS Minor
"I am currently employed as a Search Quality Evaluator at Google. Asian American Studies provided an academic curriculum for me to explore my Japanese American heritage and discover a rich history of the Asian experience in America that has not been well researched or documented. AAS provided a framework for me to critically engage racial and ethnic issues while improving my research, written, and communication skills. Although Google might seem a worlds away from AAS, I can't emphasize enough how this major has helped me get to where I am today. I strongly believe that majoring in AAS will make you a unique and valued candidate for any position in your post-Stanford career."
-- Reid Yokoyama, 2008, AAS & History Major
"I'm currently working at the Chinese Progressive Association and Azine, a collective dedicated to revitalizing the Asian American movement. I plan on studying Chinese next year in China so that I can work more deeply with the Chinese immigrant community in the U.S. Asian American Studies has given me a lens to understand how race has shaped history and oppression in the U.S. In my work, Asian American Studies helped give me a context to understand the community I work with as well as the analytical and research skills to help benefit it."
-- Mark Liu, 2007, AAS Major
Stephen Lee graduated from Stanford in 1998 with a major in Social and Cultural Anthropology, and a minor in Asian American Studies. He subsequently received an M.A. in Asian American Studies from UCLA, and a J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law. Most recently, he served as law clerk to the honorable Mary M. Schroeder. He is currently on a fellowship at Stanford Law School, where he is working on an article examining anti-immigrant laws in the employment context.

"My Asian American Studies minor has been incredibly useful, both because it compelled me to obtain an M.A. in Asian American Studies prior to coming to law school, and because I intend to go into law-teaching with a focus on critical race theory."
-- Stephen Lee
"I am the youth program director at the Chinatown Community Development Center, an affordable housing nonprofit organization that also engages in community organizing, education and planning. I have worked with over two hundred San Francisco high school students developing youth leadership, advocacy and civic engagement through youth-initiated community service projects. Previously, I was a fellow at the Greenlining Institute, where I advocated for a range of issues, including consumer protection, access to higher education, and universal life line issues for low-income communities of color and immigrant communities."
-- Jane Kim
"I have found my Asian American Studies degree extremely useful in my new career as a member of the California bar and an associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in Menlo Park. While attending Harvard Law School, my CSRE degree provided a critical foundation for understanding the historical, political and social contexts of important precedents in criminal law, constitutional law and civil rights law. I joined the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties journal in order to learn more about civil rights scholarship, and organized Harvard's National Asian Pacific American Conference on Law and Public Policy. My ongoing commitment to diversity within the legal profession and to civil rights has its roots in my undergraduate degree."
-- Chester Day
"I am a litigation and trademark attorney for Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. The Stanford Asian American Studies curriculum enabled me to learn about aspects of Asian American history and culture that I wanted to know about as a daughter of a Filipina immigrant, but such subjects were not taught in general-education history and sociology courses. In addition, the curriculum honed my writing and critical thinking skills, which made me well prepared for law school and for practicing as an attorney at an internationally renown law firm."
-- Michelle R. Watts, Esq.