Opportunities and Challenges for Asian American Youth

My dissertation project examines the supports available to high-school-aged Asian Americans in Chicago to develop critical racial consciousness (Bañales, Aldana, & Hope, forthcoming). Specifically, I am interested in how conversations and messages about race across youth’s primary socializing settings (home, school, peers, online spaces, youth programs/groups) contribute to or complicate young people’s understanding of systemic racism, positive ethnic-racial identity development, political engagement, and perceived relationship to other marginalized communities. To investigate this question, I surveyed 76 young people and interviewed a subset of these participants with my research team throughout 2020-2021 to learn about their experiences and beliefs. Currently, I am writing up my results.

I hope that this study will provide useful insight and practical strategies to schools and organizations interested in integrating racial dialogue to support the critical consciousness development of young people.

Research Collaborators

Grace Su, Soo Young Lee, and Elizabeth Shen supported the project as interviewers. They also played key roles in the analysis of the data. Quinmill Lei, Sara Zhang, Mary Manching, Joanna Lam, Eva Nip, and Caitlin Lozada also enhanced interpretability of the research through their contributions on the data analysis. I am grateful to each one of them for their current and past collaborations on the project.

Mental Health, Teachers & Schools

My previous research has focused on socio-emotional supports for early-career teachers in high-need, under-resourced schools; the impact of school closures on teacher mobility; and the perspectives of teachers on urban school reform initiatives.

Other Research Experience

I have also assisted on research studies and teams that have focused on addressing trauma in schools; the experiences, challenges, and opportunities of young adults in Chicago; STEAM education; and educational activism. Previously, I conducted research on civic engagement for the Obama Foundation and on education policy for Michigan State Senator Stephanie Chang (when she was a State Representative).

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