Sunshine Blanco Sunshine Garcia Blanco ( is a Ph.D. candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the University of California, Riverside, where she also obtained her MA in Anthropology. She is a recipient of the Dean’s Distinguished Fellowship Award.  Her research interests include indigeneity, performance, and citizenship in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of the Philippines Diliman and was a Fulbright scholar at Cornell University, where she also taught Filipino language and culture.
Chi Yen Ha Chi Yen “Ichi” Ha (she/they) ( is a Ph.D. student in Cultural Anthropology at the University of California Riverside (UCR). She holds an MA in Southeast Asian Studies from UCR (2022) and a BA in International Studies/Cultural Psychology from Trinity College, Connecticut (2016). With a focus on Southeast Asia and Vietnam in particular, her research interests include indigeneity and ethnicity, materiality and politics of textiles and fashion, creative economy, posthumanism, new materialisms, political ecology, political ontology, and indigenous people/ethnic minority movements. She has also been working as a consultant for NGOs and civil organizations related to ethnic minority issues in Vietnam.
Chari Hamratanaphon Chari Hamratanaphon (she/her) (  is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology, coming from Thailand. She is currently researching amulets and precarity in modern Vietnam. Chari finished her master’s in Southeast Asian Studies at UCR and her thesis is centered on how elephant statues at temples acquire their auras and exercise their agency, which supports the Vietnamese nation-building process. Her area of interest is Vietnamese spiritual cultures, in relation to the concepts of non-human agency, modernity, and transnationalism. Chari believes that every object in the world has stories to tell.
Violette Hoàng-Phương Hồ ( is currently pursuing an M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies and a Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of California Riverside. Violette received her B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California Los Angeles, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude, along with College Honors and Departmental Honors. As a Lemelson Undergraduate Scholar at UCLA, she conducted fieldwork on college decisions among young women in Southern Vietnam. Her current research focuses on gender, education, globalization, (post)socialism, state power, nationalism, Vietnam, and Southeast Asia. She also works on English-Vietnamese translation of History and Anthropology texts.
Katrya Ly Katrya Ly (she/her) ( is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration & Policy at the University of California, Riverside. She began her journey in higher education at Irvine Valley College and later transferred to the University of California, Irvine where she received her B.A. in Social Policy & Public Service. At UCI, Katrya completed a grant-funded honors thesis on Hmong students’ persistence in higher education. Now at UCR, Katrya is the advisor of the Hmong Student Association on campus. Her research interests include critical race studies, diversity in higher education, and higher education access and attainment for Hmong and other underrepresented students.
Shani Tra Shani Tra ( is pursuing a Ph.D. in the Anthropology department at UC Riverside, with a designated emphasis in Southeast Asian Studies. As a first-generation college student, Shani received her bachelor’s degree at UC Santa Barbara. Shani’s research focuses on how gender inequality, social practices, and illness impact care in Southern Vietnam. Granted the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP), she hopes to use her research as a framework for analyzing how perceptions of illness can influence future and current healthcare policies.
Drew Trinidad Drew Trinidad (they/them) ( is a Ph.D. student in the English department pursuing a Designated Emphasis in Southeast Asian Studies. Their research interests include aesthetics, affect, contemporary queer cultural productions, diaspora, visual studies, the Philippines, Thailand, and Southeast Asia. They are interested in queer Asian diasporic desire mapped through diasporic consumption of queer medias and literatures from East Asia, Southeast Asia, North America and Australia.
Quynh Truong Quynh Truong (they/she) ( is an M.A. student in Southeast Asian Studies at UC Riverside. They earned a B.A. in International Studies at Ewha Womans University. Their research revolves around trans/queer media and body politics in Vietnam as they intersect with class, ethnicity, transnationalism, and digitalization. They aspire to explore the interactions between anthropology and creative writing in future research.
Zhiyi Wang Zhiyi Wang ( is currently a Ph.D. student in Anthropology at the University of California, Riverside. She has a background in literature and holds an MA in Comparative Literature from University College London. She is pursuing a Designated Emphasis in Southeast Asian Studies, with a focus on Cambodia. Her research project originates from an interest in the idea of urban in the form of infrastructure, specifically the urban transportation infrastructure and its capabilities in shaping people’s everyday lives and the urban landscape. She is also interested in how infrastructure is perceived as a site of technopolitics, which plays a role in international and regional relations in today’s Southeast Asia.
Tara Westmor ( is currently pursuing an MA in Southeast Asian Studies, with a Ph.D. track in Anthropology, at the University of California, Riverside. She holds an MFA in poetry from New Mexico State University. Tara has work published and forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review, The Greensboro Review, Hunger Mountain, Prairie Schooner and elsewhere. She is studying the ways in which tourists, predominantly Vietnam War veterans, use language to narrativize and poeticize their own experiences of war. She is also interested in poetics about, from, and remembering the American/Vietnam war, the westernization of performance poetry in Vietnam, and where the two topics may intersect. Tara is currently working on curating an anthology of the intersections between ethnography and poetry called Anthro/Poetics.
Magnolia Yang Sao Yia Magnolia Yang Sao Yia (she/her) ( is a dance artist and Ph.D. candidate in Critical Dance Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Southeast Asian Studies. She holds a BFA in Dance and a Minor in Asian American Studies from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Magnolia’s dissertation project examines Hmong dance practices in the U.S. Working from a transnational feminist and decolonial praxis, she works to activate a cultural politic of Hmong self-determination that is critical of colonial and imperial value systems. As a contemporary dance theater choreographer, her work ranges from self-performed solo works and ensemble works, and often centers the Hmong American woman subject as the site of feminist inquiry and critique. Magnolia is a daughter of Hmong refugees and a former undocumented immigrant living on Tongva and Chumash lands. (Photo by Sarah White, choreography by Chitra Vairavan)
Allan Zheng Allan Zheng ( is a graduate student in ethnomusicology pursuing a Designated Emphasis in Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California Riverside. Allan graduated with a B.A. in Music from Colorado College in 2019. At Colorado College, Allan completed a project on bamboo xylophones in Bali and worked with musicians and instrument makers in Bali. Allan is broadly interested in the evolution of Cambodian music including movements to revive Cambodian traditional music and trends in popular Cambodian music. He is also interested in how musical cultures in Southeast Asia related to each other.