Biography

I am a 1.5 generation Hmong refugee from Laos.  My family and I emigrated to the United States when I was four years old. But I still have flashbacks, often triggered by smells, of my early life in Laos and the Thai refugee camp we called home for two years.  Some faded memories that continue to haunt me:  fishing with my father along the banks of a river in Laos; frightened faces from people clinging on to makeshift bamboo rafts in the rushing Mekong river under the cover of a starless night; fever-induced menacing shadows crawling on the walls and ceilings of a refugee camp hospital  where I was recovering from an illness; and standing in a long line in the camp with other kids, our empty buckets eagerly awaiting the weekly ration of soy milk.  To this day, I still feel an odd sense of security and comfort from drinking soy milk.

My personal experiences as a racialized immigrant growing up in poverty in the U.S. has profoundly shaped my worldview and research interests in international migration, racial/ethnic health disparities, inequality, and social justice.

I currently live in Montreal, Quebec with my husband, toddler son, and three cats. True to my agrarian roots, I also dabble in suburban homesteading (minus chickens) and have created several hugelkultur vegetable beds in my backyward garden (with a long-term goal of establishing a self-sustaining, year-round garden even in the heart of the Canadian winter!)

                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                    [picture: My parents, younger sister Joua, me, and cousin Pao in 

                                                                                                                                      Thai refugee camp cornfields]