Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
During May, we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month to raise awareness of AAPI culture and recognize AAPI students, faculty, staff, and alumni throughout the University’s history.
Aashna Aggarwal, Ph.D. Student in Counseling Psychology
My name is Aashna Aggarwal, and I grew up in Mumbai, India. I spent the first sixteen years of my life there, eating endless mangoes, celebrating numerous festivals with my family, and nurturing a love for learning. I then moved to Singapore for the last two years of high school. Even though this was still Asia, the culture shock was quite high and can serve as a good reminder that within AAPI heritage, there is so much diversity. After Singapore, I moved to the U.S.A. for undergraduate education in Vermont, and currently am concluding my doctoral work at Purdue. One of the hardest things in the move to the U.S.A. was adjusting to being seen as a woman of color and the discrimination that came along with it. Thus, my research has centered on how international students of color, particularly Asian Indians, experience racism and make sense of their racial identities in the U.S.A. My AAPI heritage has not only shaped the person I am today, but also influences the research I engage in. As an AAPI graduate student, I believe in using my voice to challenge racial injustice. The model minority myth often boxes AAPI students into being seen as ‘nerds’ and often masks the very real racism these students face, and I hope my work can challenge this stereotype.
"My AAPI heritage has not only shaped the person I am today, but also influences the research I engage in. As an AAPI graduate student, I believe in using my voice to challenge racial injustice."
- Aashna Aggarwal
JP Liban, Master’s Student in Environmental and Ecological Engineering
My name is JP Liban, and I am a master’s student in Environmental and Ecological Engineering. I am currently in the program’s Combined Degree Program scheduled to graduate in December 2022. I am also a member of the Graduate Staff of the Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center.
Within my field, I am mostly interested in urban development and sustainable infrastructure. My hope is to incorporate urban greenspace and resilience measures as cities around the world continue to expand and urbanize and our climate continues to change.
A significant concept of Filipino culture is family and community which I try to incorporate into my daily life. I try my best to treat everyone with the respect they deserve and encourage community with my peers and at my place of work. Everyone I meet is my family and they all deserve to be taken care of.
"AAPI Heritage Month is a great time for me because it reminds me to not only be proud of my heritage, but also actively share my heritage with everyone around me."
- JP Liban
AAPI Heritage Month is a great time for me because it reminds me to not only be proud of my heritage, but also actively share my heritage with everyone around me. As all Asian identities are highlighted throughout the month, I also take the time to explore cultures and customs that I have not necessarily fully experienced before.
The Asian community here at Purdue is small but very strong. Through organizations like the AAARCC and the various cultural organizations on campus, those who are interested in Asian American and Asian cultures have a lot to choose from. While a lot of these opportunities are tailored towards undergraduate students, the communities are available and welcoming to graduate students. Every day I try to encourage the graduate students I meet to utilize the resources that took care of me throughout my undergraduate career.
Advice for future AAPI Boilermakers
The Asian community at Purdue is alive and well on campus but it’s up to you to look for and cultivate those relationships. Being curious and having an open mind will introduce you to so many amazing people with countless things to share.
The child of immigrants from China, alumna Carolyn Y. Woo began her life journey in Hong Kong. At age 18, Purdue introduced her to America. She arrived in 1972 with only enough money to pay for one year of tuition plus room and board. In the next half-century, this determined student became the world leader and business conscience we know today.
The Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center (AAARCC)
The Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center (AAARCC) provides dynamic educational resources for the Purdue community and the Lafayette-West Lafayette community. Since joining Purdue in April 2015 under the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, the AAARCC has opened its doors to all and seeks to remain as a source of education, integration, and support. Programs and events will be constantly evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of the campus community. Our space is committed to preserving, advancing, and connecting the rich diversity here at Purdue to offer an exciting global experience for all.
Asian Student Union Board
This organization was created to promote ethnic diversity as well as connect the multicultural organizations within Purdue community to spread Asian cultural awareness. We are dedicated to spreading Asian cultural awareness between Purdue student organizations and the surrounding community by bringing Asian organizations closer together. By connecting with each other we are connecting with all the cultures of the world, further enriching each other’s livelihood.