1882 Reception Cov and B Ted Gong

Ted Gong | Executive Director

Ted Gong is Executive Director of the 1882 Project Foundation and President of DC chapter of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance.  Before retiring in 2012, Ted was a career diplomat in the U.S. Department of State where he served primarily in East Asia on policy and operational issues related to border management and security, migration and refugees, and consular affairs.  He has degrees in History, Asian Studies, and National Strategic Studies form the University of California, University of Hawaii and the U.S. Army War College. Ted is also included in The Guardian‘s The Frederick Douglass 200, a list of two hundred people — abolitionists, diplomats, writers, feminists, and more — who best embody the spirit and work of Frederick Douglass.

Franklin Odo | Deputy Director and 1882 Symposium

Franklin Odo was Founding Director of the Asian Pacific American Center at the Smithsonian Institution, 1997-2010. He was Interim Chief of the Asian Division, Library of Congress in 2011. Odo was among the few faculty members when Asian American Studies was established at UCLA, and has served as a professor of Ethnic Studies, History and/or American Studies at several universities, from the University of Hawai`i, to the University of Pennsylvania, Hunter College, Princeton, and Columbia Universities in the 1990s. He has published No Sword to Bury: Japanese Americans in Hawai`i during World War II, and most recently in 2013, Voices from the Canefields: Folksongs from Japanese Immigrant Workers in Hawai`i. He has a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Asian American Studies and a Distinguished Service Award from the Asian American Justice Center. Odo was appointed Humanist in Residence at the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities at Brown University in April 2013. He currently leads a “Theme Study on Asian American Pacific Islanders” for the National Historic Landmarks Project of the National Park System.
Franklin Odo

Sojin Kim | Deputy Director and 1882 Symposium

Sojin Kim is a curator at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. She previously worked as a public historian in Los Angeles, collaborating with diverse local communities on exhibitions, documentation and media projects, and public programs. From 2008 to 2010, she was curator of history at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. From 1998 to 2008, she was curator at the Japanese American National Museum. Sojin holds a PhD in folklore and mythology from University of California, Los Angeles. She serves on the board of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts.

Stan Lou | Talk Story Director

Stan Lou was born in Greenville, Mississippi, of immigrant parents from China. Stan earned Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Michigan and had a career with the Federal Aviation Administration before retiring in Washington, DC. He is most proud of his three accomplished children who all reside in California now. Upon retirement Stan went to China in 2003 to teach English to university students and to learn about himself there for almost three years. He returned to the Washington, DC, area where he has committed himself to become busily engaged with understanding more about his heritage as a Chinese American. With that as his motivation, he has worked with the Asian Pacific American community to improve the quality of life for its members. Most of his focus has been with OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, where he has served as co-president of the Greater Washington DC Chapter and is currently the Vice-President for Education & Culture on the OCA National Board. He worked with the 1882 Project and is active with a group that created the Talk Story series that engages the DC community in sharing the stories of their experiences living as APAs.
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Ting-yi Oei | Curriculum & Education Director

Ting-Yi Oei is a lifelong educator. He received his BA in History from Hamilton College and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University. He taught middle and high school social studies for 20 years and was a high school administrator for another ten in Virginia. Along the way he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Korea, was a Fulbright Teacher in Scotland, and spent a year teaching in the Dominican Republic. He was also awarded a one-year research fellowship at Teaching Tolerance, the education project of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala. Now he is a curriculum consultant with a particular interest in improving the quality of teaching of Asian Pacific American history.

John Kusano | Historic Preservation Director

John develops historic preservation programs for the 1882 Foundation and is also the Vice-Chair of the Advisory Council of the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership in Washington, DC.  He recently retired from a 35 year career with the US Forest Service. He is a third-generation Californian and a graduate of UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz.


Jenn Low | Deputy Director and Chinatown Programs

Jenn is an integrative designer and landscape architect with over twelve years of experience as a Landscape Architect in New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle. She is also a design educator with experience in both secondary and higher education. Jenn holds an MDes in Integrative Design at the Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan and a Bachelor in Landscape Architecture from the University of Washington. Expanding her skillsets beyond traditional modes of urban design practice, her work centers issues in design, power, and spatial justice. In collaboration with the 1882 Foundation, her thesis project, Dear Chinatown, DC, explored how we can redesign public engagement practices that give community members a more meaningful role in how our neighborhoods are planned and designed.

May Cheh | Senior Advisor for Programs

May Cheh earned degrees in Chemistry and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley and American University.  She had a career at the National Institutes of Health doing research in medical informatics and directing a training program for visiting fellows at her institute.  May was born in Guangdong, China, and came to the United States as a toddler.  The first member of her family came to the United State during the California Gold Rush in the 1800’s, but, because of the U.S. Chinese Exclusion Act against Chinese immigration, May and her mother were the first women in their family to immigrate to the United States.  May’s passion is to preserve the history and stories of Chinese families in America.

Lily Liu photo

Lily Liu | 2020 Summer Internship Mentor

Lily Liu is AARP’s Historian Emerita. In 2015, she took a hiatus from the workplace in order to handle full-time responsibilities as her mother’s family caregiver. Prior to that, Lily worked at AARP, most recently serving as AARP’s historian and archivist — collecting, preserving and storytelling about the history of AARP. She conducted oral-history interviews and also made speeches around the country about the founder of the Association. The majority of Lily’s career at AARP was spent in AARP’s Communications Group, including positions as a Speechwriter for the Executive Director/CEO and the Board of Directors. She was the Lead Speechwriter for AARP’s first African-American National volunteer President, Dr. Margaret Dixon, a retired educator. In subsequent positions at AARP, Lily served as the award-winning editor of Inside AARP, the staff newsletter, and as the Volunteer Resource Education Specialist in the AARP Volunteer Center.  She co-founded AARP’s Asian-American Employee Resource Group, a staff affinity group. In early 2016, Lily was interviewed for the AARP documentary about three Chinese-American family caregivers, “Caregiving:  The Circle of Love.”  She has participated in outreach events around the country to share her personal family caregiver story. Lily is the daughter of two retired educators originally from China. She immigrated to the U.S. when she was six. Her academic training is in English Literature and Comparative Literature (English and French).  She is fluent in speaking Mandarin Chinese and has had her translations of the essays of contemporary Chinese women writers published in journals in the U.S. and Asia.

Jamelah Jacob | Communications and Public Affairs Director

Jamelah Jacob is a senior at William & Mary, double majoring in Asian & Pacific Islander American Studies and Public Policy. She is passionate about expanding ethnic studies and is especially interested in Asian American literature and its significance on the contemporary Asian American identity and experience. Jamelah joined the 1882 Foundation the summer of 2019 as an intern and is excited to continue her work with the team. Jamelah overlooks the Foundation’s communications and assists with partnerships. Check out #WhyAPIALit!

Beth Zhao | Public Affairs Coordinator

Beth graduated magna cum laude from George Mason University Class of 2019 where she double majored in Government and Chinese and will be pursuing her J.D. at The George Washington University Law School. She first joined 1882 Foundation as an intern in 2018. Last summer, Beth launched 1882 Foundation’s first podcast on the legacy of the Supreme Court decision on U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark to interpret the 14th Amendment and affirm birthright citizenship for people born in the United States regardless of their immigration status. This summer, Beth is coordinating 1882 Foundation’s internship program while working with OCA-DC on census and voter outreach.

Linda Wen | Programs Associate

Linda Wen is a senior at Georgetown University majoring in Government and English, with plans to attend law school and specialize in immigration law. Linda started with the 1882 Foundation as an intern in the summer of 2018. Since then, her work has focused on outreach + partnerships with other organizations working in the advocacy space. In addition, she assists with the DC Chinatown preservation and documentation initiatives at the 1882 Foundation.

Gabi Chu | Programs Associate

Gabi Chu is a third-year at the University of Virginia, hoping to major in Global Development Studies and Anthropology. Originally from Fairfax, Virginia, she graduated high school in Seoul, South Korea. Her main area of interest is in oral histories and narratives, and exploring how these stories are represented through walking tours and reclaiming spaces in ethnically distinct neighborhoods. She is also interested in the intersection of the modern Asian-American experience and self-representation through fashion and art. Gabi joined the 1882 Foundation in the summer of 2019 as an intern and has since developed a walking tour of the historic DC Chinatown neighborhood and continues to expand the initiative. 

2020 Summer Interns

Sabrina Brogniart

Sabrina Brogniart is a rising senior at Michigan State University. She is majoring in Comparative Cultures and Politics with a concentration in the Asian region and is minoring in German. She grew up in the metro Detroit area and comes from a multi-ethnic family. After graduation, Sabrina plans on serving in the Peace Corps or studying at an international graduate school. 

Lauren Eng

Lauren Eng is a rising senior at University of Maryland, College Park. She is majoring in Information Science and plans to double minor in Sustainability Studies and Asian American Studies. Her main areas of interest include sharing oral histories and exploring culture through music. She also has a strong interest in information storage and distribution, specifically that of Asian American history. Lauren joined the 1882 Foundation in the summer of 2020 as an intern, where her work concentrates on Talk Story events and the Literature & Art Corner.

Saniya Han

Saniya Han is a sophomore at The College of William & Mary, studying Asian and Pacific Islander Studies along with East Asian Studies. She is passionate about preserving Chinese American heritage through education and outreach and her main interests are AAPI policies in the U.S. and the representation of Asian Americans through art, music, and literature. Saniya joined the 1882 Foundation this summer and is excited to contribute to the Talk Story and Literature Corner projects as well as expand 1882’s public relations through media outreach. 

Calvin Kim

Calvin Kim is a rising junior at William & Mary. He is double majoring in Sociology and Asian and Pacific Islander American Studies. He is interested in educational equity and its relation to class, race, and socioeconomic status. He is especially fascinated with looking into how issues of educational equity intersect with AAPI issues and history. This summer, Calvin will be working on the 1882 Foundation’s curriculum and education initiatives.

Susan Li

Susan Li is a rising sophomore at Columbia University studying Political Science-Economics and Anthropology. She is particularly interested in oral histories, archival practices, and public education about Asian American history in relation to the histories of black and brown Americans. On campus, she sits on the Executive Committee of the Asian American Alliance and co-directs the annual Crossroads Conference for AAPI high-school youth in NYC. In addition to her work within the AAPI community, Susan writes for the Columbia Spectator, edits for the Journal of Politics and Society, and volunteers with a number of grassroots and student organizations in the NYC community. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, friendship-bracelet-making, and baking.

Ana LuoCai

Ana LuoCai is a rising senior at the City College of New York where she is studying political science and public policy. As a first-generation Chinese immigrant, she is heavily invested in the immigrant and Asian American experience in the United States. Her background and upbringing in New York City have been instrumental in pushing her to pursue a future in public policy where she can contribute to primarily immigration reform policies. With the 1882 Foundation, Ana hopes to further connect her personal identity and upbringing with her policy interests by continuing to learn about the history of Asians in America and the ongoing policy efforts to address past inequities whose effects we still see today.

Sean Milko

Sean Milko is a rising Sophomore at the University of Maryland, majoring in American History. A native of the DMV, Sean is interested in local culture and historical preservation. As the former President of his high school history club, Sean is passionate about protecting historical sites and getting involved with educational programs. Sean joined the 1882 foundation in 2020 and looks forward to working with the team!

Kyle Wang

Kyle Wang just finished his sophomore year at Stanford University, where he is majoring in English (with a creative writing emphasis) and minoring in Mathematics. His interests include postcolonial and diasporic literature, AAPI poetry, and the intersections of activism and scholarship. This summer, he will be working primarily on the 1882 Foundation’s historic preservation initiatives as well as its Literature Corner. In his spare time, he writes a lot of poetry and fiction.

Hayle Wesolowski

Hayle is a recent graduate from Middlebury College, where she received her BA in History and Political Science in 2018. Having conducted research on the Chinese Exclusion laws and their effect on creating Asian diasporas in Latin America, she is passionate about the inclusion of underrepresented communities and voices in history. As a summer intern, Hayle assists with The 1882 Foundation’s heritage tours and site preservation initiatives, as well as with expanding partnerships with museums and cultural institutions.

Board of Advisors

Walter Woo

Shirely Woo

Carolyn Chan