The University of Houston-Downtown recognizes and celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month by honoring the significant contributions of the AAPI community, both on campus and throughout the greater Houston area.
With 48 countries representing Asia today, there can be no single story of the AAPI experience. Rather, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders make the nation more vibrant through a diversity of contributions that enrich America’s culture, from art and architecture to music, religion, food, science, medicine, and of course, language. The American story would be impossible without the contributions and legacies of the AAPI Community.
UHD’s Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Kit Cho, who was raised in New York City and is the child of Vietnamese and Chinese parents, speaks to what makes Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month so important – and the role UHD plays in supporting the AAPI Community.
“AAPI Heritage Month celebrates our histories and our cultures. When I was looking for an institution to pursue an academic career, I wanted a place that resembled New York City. Demographic mixture was one aspect of what I was looking for, and Houston has a large Asian population, just like New York. It feels very much like the environment I am familiar with and where I know success stories like mine are possible,” he said.
UHD is the most diverse campus in the region. The University Community achieves that by embracing the wide spectrum of people who comprise UHD students, faculty, and staff. Dr. Cho is an example of how people may hail from different backgrounds and still find commonality in their stories.
“In the classroom, I teach students from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. They share their stories with me — such as being a first-generation college student or growing up in a disadvantaged socioeconomic environment. As part of an ice-breaker activity on the first day of class, my students and I share lighthearted facts about ourselves. I like to talk about why I am here and how this campus reminds me so much of where I earned my undergraduate degree in New York,” he said. “I find it particularly rewarding to work at UHD because representation matters. And though we might have different ethnic backgrounds, we’re not that different in our experiences.”
Enjoy the opportunity this month to celebrate the many people and cultures who make up the University of Houston-Downtown and the city, particularly the AAPI Community.
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