Women in US-Asian Relations Oral History Project



As a final project for a course through the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies, “Women in U.S.-Asian Relations” (AAS/POL 307), students conducted interviews with women who are cross-cultural “travelers” between the United States and Asia.


Before conducting their interviews, the students examined the ways women historically sought to increase understanding between the U.S. and Asia over a 125-year time period (from the 1850s to the 1970s). They learned about transformative occupations — from writers and poets to missionaries, journalists, film makers, diplomats, medical and social workers, scientists, scholars, and chefs – to determine how women used motivational discourse and social networking, mentoring, and partnering to interpret China, India, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Vietnam for diverse audiences in America and Asia.


In addition, the students examined the trajectory of American history in the early 1800s when women were precursors, at the turn of the 20th century when women took on roles as progressives, and in the mid-1900s when women challenged the status quo both domestically and abroad. They traced the broader context of U.S.-Asian relations, encompassing the U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction era, American missionary movements in Asia, Chinese exclusion laws, WW2 Japanese internment camps, the Korean War, the ascendancy of the Chinese Communist Party, Philippine independence, Indian political movements, and the Vietnam War.


Working in groups, the students then prepared a list of interview questions, corresponded with the interviewee to request an interview, and recorded their interviews using audio and/or visual formats. In their final reports and class presentations, they reflected upon what they learned from the interviewees and each other.


We thank all of those who contributed to these projects and hope you enjoy browsing this collection.


-Peg Christoff


This project is a joint effort between the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies and the Stony Brook University Libraries.


View the public digital collection here


Read interview transcripts and presentations for each interviewee by clicking on their name below.

Interviews labeled (Restricted Access) require Stony Brook University Net ID and password. Please contact Digital Projects Librarian, Victoria Pilato, if there are any issues, at victoria.pilato@stonybrook.edu



 Adams, Margarethe – Professor, Stony Brook University, Department of Music

Interviewed by: Naveed Ahmed, Daniel Coyne, Susmita Chakraborty, Brian Khaneyan


• Barale, Lucille – Adjunct Professor, Attorney, Consultant

Interviewed by: Paul Nguyen, Stefanie Chen, Christolin Michel


Barlow, Tani – Professor of Humanities and Professor of History, Rice University

Interviewed by: Anqi Li, Shangqing Zheng


Barnett, Rosemarie – Immigration Rights Attorney

Interviewed by: Laura Vega, Mariko Kora


Brehm, Carolyn L. VP, Procter & Gamble Global Government Relations & Public Policy

Interviewed by: James Lynn, John Desmond


Burt, Clarissa – Associate Professor of Arabic Language, Literature, and Culture, United States Naval Academy

Interviewed by: Christopher Gomez, Michael Munson, Seth Williams


Chan, Gloria S. – Professional Development Coach, Senior Vice President at Coach Diversity Institute, Founder of ALCLife

Interviewed by: Isabela Kernin, Bryanna Mojica


Chandran, Latha – Pediatrician, Chief of Residents at Stony Brook University Hospital, Medical Educator

Interviewed by: Emely Liranzo, Victoria Jaramillo, Alyssa Shevlin


Chang Bloch, Julia – Founder/President of the US-China Education Trust

Interviewed by: Melissa Kelly, Maria Marrero, Stephanie Paguay


Chou, Jennifer – Founding member/former Deputy Director of Programming at Radio Free Asia

Interviewed by: Drazen Baracca, Raven Dorsey, Ericka Berman, Megan Miller


David, Mary – Lawyer, Advocate for Anti-Human Trafficking

Interviewed by: Theresa Decicco, Mehtasim Mahfuz, Alexa Reynolds


 Davis, Nancy – Research Program Director, East West Center (Restricted Access)

Interviewed by: Nicole LiBretto, Sean Dwyer


• Doi, Yuriko Stage Director, Choreographer, Performer, & Former Founding Artistic Director of Theatre of Yugen 

Interviewed by: Tiffany Huang, Kelly Liu, David Youngkyun Lee


• Economy, Elizabeth C. V. Starr Senior Fellow, Director for Asia Studies (Council on Foreign Relations) (Restricted Access)

Interviewed by: Beyza Gurler, Stephanie Schieda


• Ennis, Erin  Senior VP, US-China Business Council 

Interviewed by: Smith, Patrick


• Gunness, Kristen – China Analyst (Rand Corporation) (Restricted Access)

Interviewed by: Aijaz Wasay, Diego Molina


Hall, Amy – Vice President of Eileen Fisher

Interviewed by: Aracely Jimenez-Hudis, Emily Seiller


Hamrin, Carol – Senior Associate at the Global China Center

Interviewed by: Asha Samuel, Arianny Santana, & Shamarie Williams


Ho, Ling Ling – Research Specialist, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Genetics Department (Restricted Access)

Interviewed by: Ryan Frisina, Timothy Antelepyan


Horsely, Jamie – Professor of Chinese business, Yale Law School 

Interviewed by: Daniel Halbig, Alexandra Vlahakis


Johanson, Vanessa – Country Director, Myanmar United States Institute of Peace (USIP)

Interviewed by: Krystyn V. Phillips


Kamsky, Virginia Founder, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, Kamsky Associates, Inc. (Restricted Access)

Interviewed by: Nadia Tavares, Hao Wang, Angela Zheng


Kim, Elaine H. Retired Professor, University of California, Berkeley,  Asian American Studies, Writer, Editor (Restricted Access)

Interviewed by: Eunjeong Choi, Seonghyeon Park


Kolenda, Helena  Program Director, Asia, Henry Luce Foundation

Interviewed by: Kristen Winters, William Ozdal


• Larson, Jane Leung – Freelance writer/historian 

Interviewed by: Paul Chan, Kevin Lee


Lawrence, Susan V. ​Specialist in Asian Affairs, Congressional Research Service (Restricted Access)

Interviewed by: Danielle Johnson, Julian Osorio


Lipson, Roberta Chairwoman, United Family Healthcare (Beijing, China)

Interviewed by: Benjamin Tucker


Liu, Dimon – Architect, Human Rights Activist, Writer (Restricted Access)

Interviewed by: Amir Ahmed, Rezaul Hassan, Longchen Ni, Simon Sharp


Lui, EileenFounder of “Children of Tomorrow”, Coach/Mentor, Entrepreneur, Marketing Communications (MARCOMs) Consultant, Author, Certified Fitness Trainer, Housewife

Interviewed by: Sandy Cho, Katie Lim


Mistry, KathleenPresident of Mistry Enterprises Inc., Founding Board Member of Middle East North Africa Consultants Association (MENACA) (Restricted Access)

Interviewed by: Nichollette Aretakis, Nonie Lee, Jamie Mathew


Murck, Alfreda – Independent Scholar; formerly museum curator at the National Palace Museum

Interviewed by: Tenzin Norzin


Park, SarahManager, Martin’s Cleaners

Interviewed by: Joshua Kim, Yawen Tang


Payne, Nancy – Vice President of PeaceTech Lab, United States Institute of Peace (USIP)

Interviewed by: Kyuri Kim, Junbum Hwang, Hosun Jung


Richardson, Sophie – Human Rights Watch, Director

Interviewed by: Yalda Khwaja, Lola Ashirmetov, Kofi Ramirez Osei-Tutu


Ross, Madelyn – Director of China Studies, Johns Hopkins University 

Interviewed by: Denisse Ceballos, Ayodele Ajibade


Shapiro, Norah – Filmmaker for “Miss Tibet: Beauty in Exile”  (Restricted Access)

Interviewed by: Nida Kuruvilla


Siddique, Jumaina – Program Officer, South Asia United States Institute of Peace (USIP) (Restricted Access)

Interviewed by: Carlo Antonio, Tajmin Begum


Slater, Marilyn – World War II Nurse

Interviewed by: Lauren B Slater


Small, Whitney Foard – Strategic Communications Manager, Union Group, Thailand  (Restricted Access)

Interviewed by: Zach Robinson, John Feinberg


Smith, Sarah-AnnFormer Foreign Service Officer, U.S. State Department, Author, Public Speaker

Interviewed by: Flora Ho, Aashishpal Singh


Spencer, Kay – Program Officer, Myanmar, Asia Center: United States Institute of Peace (USIP) (Restricted Access)

Interviewed by: Travis Puckett, Kevin Chow


Staats, Jennifer – Director, China Programs, United States Institute of Peace (USIP) 

Interviewed by: Danielle Stepnoski & Julie Mei

Please contact Jennifer Staats directly for information about her interview


Sultan, Hodei – Senior Program Manager, Asia Center United States Institute of Peace (USIP) (Restricted Access)

Interviewed by: Matthew LoMastro & Alejandra Ramirez


Toma, Alexandra – Executive Director, Peace and Security Fund

Interviewed by: Rubab; Marie; Julia Cunningham


• Van Hollen, Cecilia Professor and Head of Studies of Anthropology, Yale-NUS (Restricted Access to the 2018 class only)

Interviewed by: Jennifer Palmer, Jacqueline Olewnicki


Wang, NancySocial Worker, Dancer, Storyteller

Interviewed by: Trent Chen, Feng YingZong, Bae Chang Seong


Yao Maasbach, NancyPresident of Museum of Chinese American (MOCA)

Interviewed by: Melissa Yanfen Huang, Tenzin Kunsel


Young, Alice Founder and Principal – Alice Young Advisory, LLC (Restricted Access)

Interviewed by: Viviana Torres, Alex Cheung


Young, Grace Life Coach, Author, Chinese Cooking Expert (Restricted Access)

Interviewed by: John Pollard, Gabriela Hernandez