Amy Guan


Amy Guan

Immigration Paralegal, Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

B.A. in Asian American Studies, Political Science SFSU, 2004


What was the best part of your experience in Asian American Studies at SFSU?

The best part of my experience in Asian American Studies was learning about and collaborating with a passionate and committed community. The level of camaraderie, intimacy, and sincerity among peers, faculty, and families in the Asian American Studies department is absolutely incredible! Everyone has their own distinct narrative and this community embraces each one, providing a platform for individuality and togetherness all at the same time.

How would you describe your personal, academic and/or professional growth, during your time as an Asian American Studies major/minor at SF State?

The extensive knowledge and first-hand experience I gained in Asian American history, politics, community involvement, self-identification, religion, social media, and cultural awareness really helped shape the person I’ve become today. The whole process of self-discovery was a very liberating, yet intimidating experience for me and it was nice having the Asian American Studies department encouraging my development as a young adult. I developed a heightened awareness of the social injustices in the Asian American community and the compassion I had for those alike deepened. The AAS courses I took fueled my eagerness to learn and apply myself –not only academically, but also personally and professionally.

I didn't know it at the time, but it all set the foundation for my career growth and passion for my community work.

What is something you learned in Asian American Studies at SFSU—a tip, a technique, a way of thinking—that you still use today?

I learned how to be a part of a community and relate to others while also learning how to be an individual. Individualism is a challenging thing to navigate as an Asian American, and I discovered how to be less conflicted about having my own voice.

Finish this sentence:  In Asian American Studies at SF State, I discovered... Chinese American identity.

Who was your most influential SFSU Asian American Studies professor and why? 

Professor Russell Jeung and Professor Mai Nhung Le were my most influential AAS professors at SFSU. I visited them both very often during office hours and they were always available and supportive. Professor Jeung played an integral role in planting the seed of passion in my research of Chinese American Ancestral Worship. I respect how he gives back to the community and he has inspired me to find ways to give back to the Chinese community I grew up in. Professor Le really pushed me to find my place in the field of law and was great example of a strong Asian American woman. During my last few weeks at SFSU, I was in Professor Le’s office discussing career options. I was so conflicted about what I wanted to do with my life and she looked me dead in the eyes and said: “Amy, you have so much to offer. Don’t ever settle on your career choices. I want you to be happy and you won’t be happy if you do.” I take this advice with me everywhere I go.

What was your favorite Asian American Studies class at SFSU?

Chinese American Personality was my favorite class because it led me to be so much more conscious of who I am. It changed the way I relate to myself and my family and the world around me.Professor Jeung taught this course... His teaching style and the content of this course was what got me to declare Asian American Studies as my second major at SFSU.

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