Meet the Speakers of ECAASU 2018

There’s nothing like hearing some inspiring words from a leader in the community, and the ECAASU 2018 Conference has some great leaders to be inspired by. Entertainers, thought leaders, activists, and more are appearing over the weekend. Before you hear their life-changing advice, learn more about them and their backgrounds.

Steven Lim
Video Producer at Buzzfeed

Steven Lim is an Executive Producer at BuzzFeed Motion Pictures. He is the creator and host of "Worth It", BuzzFeed’s flagship food show that tries three foods at three drastically different price points. In his free time, Steven enjoys watching the NFL and NBA, keeping up with his favorite YouTubers, and he never turns down the opportunity to eat sushi or acai bowls.

Raymond Partolan
Immigration Paralegal at Kuck | Baxter Immigration LLC

For over seven years, Mr. Partolan has been a fearless advocate for immigrant and refugee communities as a DACA recipient himself. In 2013, he was a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the University System of Georgia challenging its decision to bar DACA recipients from receiving in-state tuition at Georgia schools. He has lobbied for immigration reform at the local, state, and federal levels of government, traveling the country to share his immigrant story.


Mimi Thi Nguyen
Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Mimi Thi Nguyen is Interim Chair of Gender and Women's Studies for 2017-2018. Her first book, called The Gift of Freedom: War, Debt, and Other Refugee Passages, focuses on the promise of “giving” freedom concurrent and contingent with waging war (Duke University Press, 2012; Outstanding Book Award in Cultural Studies from the Association of Asian American Studies, 2014). Her papers have been solicited for the Feminist Theory Archive at Brown University. Her following project is called The Promise of Beauty.


Diane Wong
Visiting Scholar at the Asian / Pacific / American Institute at New York University

Diane Wong is a doctoral candidate in Government at Cornell University, where she writes on race, gender, and the gentrification of Chinatowns. As a writer, educator, and multimedia storyteller, her research stems from a place of revolutionary praxis and deep love for community. Previously, Diane worked as the Social Media Organizer for 18 Million Rising and the Director of Advocacy for the East Coast Asian American Student Union on campaigns related to racial justice, civic engagement, media representation, ethnic studies, detention and deportation, and Islamophobia.

Mei Lum
Owner of Wing on Wo & Co. (W.O.W)

Mei Lum is the fifth-generation owner of her family’s 92-year-old porcelain ware business and the oldest operating store in New York City's Chinatown, Wing on Wo & Co. (W.O.W). In early 2016, her family’s building and business was on the brink of sale. In an effort to resist against contributing to the process of gentrification in Chinatown, Mei decided to take on the role of running W.O.W to continue her family’s five-generation-long legacy in the neighborhood and help protect the heart of Chinatown from encroaching gentrifying forces. 

Vijay Pendakur
Dean of Students, Cornell University

Dr. Vijay Pendakur served as Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at California State University – Fullerton (CSUF) before coming to Cornell. In addition to being an experienced practitioner in student affairs administration, he is also a scholar of diversity and inclusion work. For a sample of his scholarly publications, explore the book he recently edited, Closing the Opportunity Gap: Identity-Conscious Strategies for Retention and Student Success