Alyssa Seng, 20’s
I am currently a graduate student in the University of Washington's Communication Leadership Program pursuing a Master's in Communication in Digital Media. I am currently working with Restart Partners doing community outreach, multicultural marketing, and message testing.
What racial, ethnic, cultural community or communities do you identify with?
When and how did your family come to the United States? Where were you born?
Both of my parents are Cambodian refugees. They both came separately to the US in the 80's and found each other in Los Angeles, CA. I was born in Oxnard, CA.
What are the strengths and challenges of being Asian, Asian American, and/or Pacific Islander?
Being Asian American automatically places me in a community, especially the Southeast Asian American community, that is supportive of each other. Though we struggle with combating the model minority myth and intergenerational trauma, we have each other to depend on and connect with. I think it's beautiful to have this unspoken bond and cultural connection with others, even if you don't know them personally. Whereas a challenge of being Asian American is the constant battle of balancing our dual identities. Are we Asian? Are we American? How can we be fully 100% both without compromising our cultures? Do we need to compromise? I think that challenge will stay with us forever.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
I worked on a project called "Project Kour" with a few amazing individuals. We created art workshops for the elderly Cambodian community in Long Beach, CA as a way to promote intergenerational communication and stress relief. We worked with an established nonprofit in the community and a Cambodian American educator/artist. In the end, our elders created a captivating mural titled, "Unity."
What is one thing you learned or appreciate from your family growing up?
The value of hard work. Our parents went through unimaginable pain and trauma growing up. They came to the US to pursue the "American Dream" and worked 80+ hours a week to support me and my brothers. I am grateful for their sacrifices as it allowed me the privilege to pursue higher education. I now position my work and professional career in a way to give back to them by giving back to our cultural community.
Do you speak your family's native language? Why or why not?
Sadly, I do not. My parents did not want me to be confused while at school. I'm grateful I can at least understand Khmer, but now I am taking it upon myself to learn as much as I can independently.
What advice do you have for the younger generations in our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander community?
During my undergrad, I directed and coordinated a Khmer Culture Night titled, "Know Your Roots." I don't think that I emphasize this enough in my personal life, but it's SO important and imperative to appreciate and understand your culture through food, language, customs, and history.
What gives you the greatest joy in life?
Eating my mom's food.
Are there any projects you have created that you'd like to share and promote?
For my first quarter of grad school, I was tasked to create a Leadership Portfolio. I decided to create a digital magazine. Each section of the magazine is influenced/ inspired by my Khmer culture - subtle and apparent. *More info about the magazine can be found in the description.
Project Kour Facebook page with photos of our workshops and final mural:
If you would like to share your voice as a person of color, please read the directions and fill out this form here. All ages, backgrounds, and generations welcome. Thank you!
Who are we?
Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander voices in our communities.
This is a section for AAPI specifically because, coming from our Khmer culture, we often feel invisible in various spaces from school to the media.
We want to show the ways in which we are the same and different, and that all of our backgrounds and experiences are valuable to learn and celebrate. Let's uplift each other!
Want to share your voice?
To be featured, read the directions and fill out this form. All ages, backgrounds, and generations welcome.
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