In honor of May being Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Pacific Ties and Asian Pacific Coalition (APC) are teaming up to featuring Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Bruins. We’ll be posting one interview per day. If you’d like to share your story, fill out this form here.

Rosalee Mouanoutoua is a 4th year History major who came in to UCLA as a transfer student.

How do you identify? Do you want to tell us about your heritage?

I identify as a Hmong female living in the modern world. As like most many Asian cultures, Asian women’s roles are to be quiet and do what we are told. But personally I don’t want to be restricted by those rules. I love the quote “Do you boo boo, do you” by Kevin Hart, because it inspires me to do what I need to do to reach my goals and to do that I can not be a quiet and meek girl.

What’s your favorite part of your culture?

My favorite part of Hmong culture is the idea of family. Within the Hmong culture your family is everything, they are your support system and foundation. If you marry another Hmong person it is your family that takes care of everything and same goes with funeral. It’s not just your nuclear family I’m talking about it is also the extended family. I grew up as an only child but I was never lonely because all of my cousins I consider them as my brothers and sisters because we are so close to each other. Not only that but family also feed you when you are hungry.

What are you passionate about and why?

I’m passionate about my culture and its history. And that’s also why I decided to be a history professor to teach others about who Hmong people are and why they came to America. I love learning and I want to share everything that I know to others through education that is possible but not limited. I also want to teach those who are younger than me the skills I’ve learned to make them become leaders within their own communities and just to help improve their own lives.

Are you in any student groups on campus? What are some of your experiences?

I am in Alpha Gamma Delta and the Association of Hmong students. I love being in both. Alpha Gam is my family there are so many girls that I connect with are some of my best friends. Not only that but some of them grew up completely different from the way I grew up and I find that fascinating.  Whereas in AHS these people are also my family and we are our own small community of Hmong students here at UCLA. We all grew up in very similar ways because of our culture but we also share the same goals as to how we can help our Hmong communities grow.

What’s your greatest challenge right now?

Honestly, like many 4th years my biggest challenge is trying to figure out what I want to do after college. I mean when asked my typical answer is grad school which is possible, but I also don’t want to limit myself.  My biggest fear is failure but what I keep forgetting to tell myself is that if I fail it’s ok because then it will only give me more determination to succeed.

What’s your favorite memory of UCLA?

There are so many memories that I have here at UCLA, but I guess one of my favorites is the football games. It’s the one of the few times we all as UCLA students get to take a break from our studies and come together and cheer for our team.

Check out Asian Pacific Coalition’s new website!


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