Shoyoung shin AC '19
Major(s): American Studies, Concentration in asian american studies
Hometown: TUcsON, AZ
Extracurriculars: Asian Students Association, Korean Students Association, Asian American Studies Working Group, Presidential Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion, First Generation and Low-Income Student Advisory Board, Program Coordinator at Office of Campus Diversity and Student Leadership
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your involvement in Asian American activism on campus?
My family immigrated to the States when I was only one year old from Korea. Since then I have lived in Florida, Wisconsin, and Arizona.
During my first semester at Amherst College, I was enrolled in a seminar called Reading Asian American taught by Professor Robert Hayashi. After this course and Amherst Uprising, which also occurred during my first semester of my freshman year, I began to explore my identity and engage with it in an academic setting, which was new for me. I became more involved in the Asian community on campus. I was one of the first members of what is now called the Asian American Studies Working Group, and it has been so heartening to see the robust and hardworking group that it is now. Serving on the boards of the Korean Students Association and Asian Students Association provided insight into advocacy and Amherst as an institution.
This past May, I graduated from Amherst with a degree in American Studies with a concentration in Asian American Studies. Currently, I am a 2019 fellow at the Immigrant Justice Corps, a program dedicated to meeting immigrants’ need for high-quality legal assistance.
What is your proudest accomplishment on campus?
I am encouraged to see growth in the celebration and conversation within and about the Asian community on campus. I cannot say I accomplished this, but I am glad to have been a part of this community in my years at Amherst.
How has your time at Amherst influenced/shaped your self-perception of Asian American Identity?
As they are with any identity and community, the experiences of Asian Americans are nuanced and extensive. My time at Amherst has provided me the language and context to explore more of this identity, and I know that I want to continue to learn as I begin my post-Amherst journey.
How will your AAPI studies influence your post-college life and plans?
I will serve as an Immigrant Justice Corps Community Fellow and provide legal representation in Korean at the Minkwon Center for Community Action in Flushing, NY. In the future, I plan on going to law school, as I would love to do legal advocacy work for my own and other marginalized communities.
Why do you think it’s important to have an AAPI program at Amherst?
A very clear answer is to reflect the student body as well as to support an emerging field of scholars. There are students who want to make Asian American Studies their career in academia while some want this to supplement their thinking and individual curricula as they pursue their Amherst education. There is a want — and a need — for this program.
What do you hope the student activists at Amherst will accomplish after you leave?
I only hope that they continue to keep interest and passion for Asian American Studies alive — that’s the only way the movement continues and our goal (for a department and major) can be reached!