This blog has been long due as I wanted to write it immediately after I returned from Hawaii at the end of April. But alas, the life of a graduate student always makes it seem like there's always never enough time....
I attended the Annual Conference of the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) in Honolulu last month. As part of the many "to-do's" for scholars-in-training, I presented a paper on Pinay Nursing Students. Being that that was my first ever solo presentation at an academic conference, I was quite anxious and nervous about not knowing who will show up and throw unanswerable questions at me. It didn't help that Konrad Ng, the brother-in-law of Barack Obama, was presenting next door as well. Long story short, my twelve minutes in the hot seat went well. And the reason why I wrote this blog is really because I want to share about the folks I met in AAAS and how attending the conference was simply inspiring and empowering.
As you all probably know, PTSP was founded in 1997 by Dawn Mabalon and Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales, both of whom are now faculty at San Francisco State University. I met both these women at the conference and learned about the incredible work they are doing for the community as academicians.
Allyson founded PEP (Pin@y Educational Partnerships), "a teaching pipeline and a space for the development of critical Filipina/o American curriculum and research." Simply put, it's a group of SF State undergraduates and grad students who go out to low-income high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools, to share critical cultural curriculum that focuses on Filipino/a studies. It's a pipeline because once the K-12 students have been taught by their SF State "teachers", they go on to teach the younger ones (i.e., middle school teaching elementary school, etc.). Allyson started this in 2001 as a service-learning project and PEP has now expanded to six sites.
Interestingly enough, Dawn was one of the four presenters in my panel at the conference. Yes, I was truly honored to be sitting next to our PTSP founder. She is a historian by trade, whose work significantly contributed to the restoration of "Little Manila" in Stockton. Her presentation covered the "Lost Filipinos in Angel Island". When I told her I was part of PTSP in the early 2000s, her eyes lit up and was really delighted to know that the legacy has lived on. For alumni folks like Dawn (and now myself too), when someone knows when we were active participants in our college student org, we become very aware that our age can no longer be kept a secret. Let me tell ya, the woman is hilarious.
And before I forget, I also wanted to share my surprise when I attended the one-hour Filipino Caucus. I had no idea that there were that many Filipino scholars representing in various universities across the country. While I fully recognize that our institutions are still predominantly run by WASPs, I was quite excited about meeting at least 25 Filipino tenure-track faculty members gathered in one room at the caucus meeting. For a Pinay like me who rarely encounters fellow Filipino graduate students in the social sciences, that experience was incredibly empowering. They weren't stuck-up faculty members like the ones we usually encounter on campus. In fact, they're fairly down-to-earth, not to mention, loud, individuals who are just happy to serve as mentors to junior scholars. It was inspiring to hear and see them speak briefly about which institution they're from, what their field of expertise is, and how they've just recently been granted tenure. It's almost like an implicit message directed to a graduate student like me, telling me that I, too, can be in those shoes in the near future.
With that I'd like to end this blog posting. For anybody who is interested in sharing their latest and greatest academic work (i.e., research paper, poster, scholarly paper), AAAS is a great avenue to do so. Their proposal submission deadline is usually some time in the fall, so if you have a stellar paper you've written in any of your courses, check out the website for the submission guidelines. It's a good way to get your feet wet with one of the "must-do" things for graduate school and academe. AAAS conferences are also small enough where you don't feel too lost, but large enough where you have several fascinating research presentations to choose from. And they're usually in fun places like Waikiki. :o) The 2010 conference will be in Austin, TX.