YaleWomen interviews Yale’s new Director of the Asian American Cultural Center Joliana Yee

YaleWomen interviews Joliana Yee, the new Director of the Asian American Cultural Center (AACC), who assumes her position in January.


Q.How do you view your role as Director of the Asian American Cultural Center (AACC)?

A.As Assistant Dean of Yale College Student Engagement and Director of the AACC, I view my role as a unique opportunity to build a strong sense of community among and advocate for the diverse needs of students within the Asian and Asian American community in a manner that uplifts all marginalized populations on campus. Being able to work alongside three other strong women who are at the helm of leadership at the Afro-American, La Casa and Native American Cultural Centers respectively, to foster an inclusive and equitable campus environment, is a privilege I look forward to. In the current sociopolitical climate of this country, I am inspired by the words of Yuri Kochiyama to utilize my role at the AACC to build bridges across differences, not walls.   

Q.What is your vision for the AACC?  What initiatives are planned for the AACC and how do you plan to integrate AACC into campus life? 

A.My vision for the AACC is first and foremost for it to be student-centered; a space that is for the students and by the students, as they are the heart of the center. I also hope for the AACC to become a space where the Asian and Asian American identity can be developed and understood in a manner that embraces intersectionality because all forms of inequity are connected. I plan to spend my first few weeks on campus establishing meaningful connections with student leaders, campus partners, as well as alums to gather their input and get a clearer sense of what students are feeling energy around before planning any major initiatives. From my experience, I have learned that for any initiative to be successful you want as many people to know that their voice is considered in the process. Assistant Director, Sheraz Iqbal, and the AACC staff have already been working hard to successfully integrate the AACC into campus life. I look forward to supporting their continued efforts and taking it to new heights.

Q.What are some of the most important issues facing Asian Americans today in higher education and how does the AACC hope to address these issues? 

A.There are a whole host of important issues that face the Asian American community today and I believe that is just reflective of the diversity within the Asian American community. I think the most pressing issues facing Asian Americans in higher education are the persistent invisibility of Asian Americans in leadership and a misguided fear that is propelling select groups within the Asian American community to rally behind anti-affirmative action movements across the country. It is my hope that the AACC will provide educational programs that will raise up the next generation of critically conscious Asian American leaders.

Q.You grew up in Malaysia and were a first generation graduate student – can you talk a little about your background and your experience as an international student?  How has your experiences in American higher education shaped your views of Asian Americans in higher education?  

A.Great question! I was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the first 19 years of my life and loved every moment of it. I am the youngest of three daughters whom my parents, Franco Yee and Lily Phuah worked tirelessly to love, support and provide opportunities for that they never had. I came to the US in 2006 in pursuit of my undergraduate degree in Political Science and Economics at Miami University (OH). Growing up as a Chinese woman in Malaysia significantly shaped my lived experiences, being a member of an ethnically/racially minoritized group helped prepare me to navigate my re-racialization experiences as an Asian person in the US. Attending and working at higher education institutions in the Midwest and New England regions developed my appreciation for the unique Asian American history that shapes the context of higher education today. That understanding will continue to inform my practice and research pursuits as a scholar-practitioner moving forward. 

Q.Anything else you would like to share with us? 

A. Fun fact: Connecticut is the state I have spent the most number of years living in for the duration of my time in the US and I am excited to return! 


Stephanie Yu Lim ’00

Chair, Communications Content Committee

Photo courtesy of Joliana Yee.

Add your reaction Share

YaleWomen Receives 2017 AYA Board of Governors Excellence Award for Most Creative Use of Technology and Social Networking Media

For effort ahead of the curve, based on design, creativity, implementation and response, this award was presented to YaleWomen in November “for its creative use of technology as demonstrated in two webinars it produced last year, ‘Women in Politics’ and ‘Salary Negotiation.’ One of YaleWomen’s priorities this year is to maximize the engagement of alums, and these webinars, delivered in a format accessible to alums and students, support that goal. YaleWomen has developed a large cybernetwork: of the 10,000 alums who have joined YaleWomen; 3,400 are members of its Facebook group, thereby comprising a virtual chapter. The open-and-click rates for YaleWomen’s e-newsletters exceed industry standards, as does the success of its webinars, which engage alums across Yale College and the Graduate & Professional Schools, and around the world.


Photo courtesy of YaleWomen Facebook page

Add your reaction Share

What We’re Hearing

From a 1993 Yale College (BA) alum about the YaleWomen webinar with Women's Health Research at Yale: “This was my first time signing up for a YaleWomen webinar. The topic was not related to my professional field, but that is what made it interesting for me. It felt like dropping into a guest speaker talk back on campus. I was exposed to information that expanded my understanding of important issues.  Carolyn Mazure was great and Elisa Spungen Bildner, who facilitated the discussion, raised good questions.”

From a 1988 Yale College (BA) alum about the YaleWomen LA Holiday Party Potluck: “Thank you, YaleWomen LA, for another incredible holiday party. I'm always awed by the brilliant, dynamic, accomplished women who inhabit our community. I look forward to seeing everyone at future YWLA events!”

From a 2000 School of Medicine (MMedSci) alum about the YaleWomen Connecticut Holiday Potluck Dinner: “Thank you for a fantastic evening and dinner.  For years I have sought a connection like I had during my time at Yale.  I wish I knew that all I needed to do was come to a YaleWomen event.  My heart is content knowing I have found Yalies again.  Looking forward to much more in the future!”

From a 1996 Yale College (BA) alum about the YaleWomen Houston Holiday Cookie Exchange: “I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations and the chance to connect with a few new Yale women! It’s so exciting to know our community continues to grow! It’s a fantastic new YaleWomen tradition!”


Add your reaction Share

YaleWomen Chapter Spotlight: YaleWomen DC Hosts Salons

Ellen Fox ’81 had an idea. She wanted to create a forum or activity that would enable intellectually curious people to cut through superficial small talk to a deeper level of dialogue and relationship-building. Inspired by Enlightenment Salons of the 18th century, Ellen – with the help of her friend Lynn Borton ’83 – developed a unique model that includes short readings and a structured interactive group process designed for each topic. Ellen, who is also a Harvard Medical School grad, proposed the Salon series as a joint venture between the Alumni Network of Harvard Women and YaleWomen.

The inaugural salon – the theme of which was “Why Women Bully Other Women” – was held in September at Ellen’s home. The event was so successful (registrations sold out in hours!) that Ellen worked with chapter heads Juliet Drake ’86 and Sara Romeyn ’91 to add a second Salon that followed the same “script” as the original Salon at Ellen’s house, but took place simultaneously at another Yale (or Harvard) alum’s home in the DC area. The topics of the Salons held in November and December were “Authenticity” and “Are You Lucky?”  The Salons clearly have struck a chord with alums!


If you are interested in starting your own Salon series based on the Harvard/YaleWomen’s Salon model (spoiler alert: the theme for the January Salon will be “Mansplaining”) contact ellenfoxmd@gmail.com. For more information about other YaleWomen DC events, contact the chapter heads at dc@yalewomen.org and check the calendar on the YaleWomen website.

Photo courtesy of YaleWomen DC Facebook.

Add your reaction Share

Anita Hill: A Hero for Our Times

On October 30th Anita Hill ’80 JD returned to the Yale campus to join President Peter Salovey for the third event in the President’s Women of Yale Lecture Series.  More recently, in December, Hill was named to lead a commission that has been formed to help combat sexual harassment in the entertainment industry. Coverage of the discussion between Professor Hill and President Salovey included a Yale News piece, “The fight against sexual harassment isn’t nearly over, says Anita Hill” and the Yale Women Faculty Forum’s “Anita Hill Returns to Campus, Revisiting Sexual Misconduct Policies.”  Their discussion can be viewed in its entirety on Yale's YouTube channel.

The discussion was the third event in the President’s Women of Yale Lecture Series. In anticipation of 2019, which will mark the fiftieth anniversary of coeducation in Yale College and more than 150 years of women in Yale’s graduate and professional schools, the series celebrates outstanding Yale alumnae.  Past speakers have included Vera Wells ’71 and Maya Lin ’81 and ’86 MArch.

2017_10_30_Yale_Anita_Hill_Lavitt_2_MAL_8707.jpgPhoto courtesy of Mara Lavitt.

Add your reaction Share

YaleWomen Global Newsletter | September 2017

Add your reaction Share

A Word of Thanks!

YaleWomen received tremendous financial support during the past fiscal year, especially in response to our annual appeal.  We are thrilled to acknowledge the generosity of women alums across Yale College and the Graduate & Professional Schools --many of whom were first time donors-- gifts totaled $16,825.  We are deeply grateful for each and every gift.  Together these donations enable YaleWomen – an all-volunteer, non-dues paying organization – to bring our bold mission to life.

We have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of our donor list.  If we have made any errors, please accept our apologies and let us know by sending an email to info@yalewomen.org.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Call for Nominations for the YaleWomen Award of Excellence

Do you know of an individual (or individuals) who has been an exceptional advocate for justice, equality, and access for women?  If so, we encourage you to submit your nomination(s) for the YaleWomen Award for Excellence

Inaugurated in 2016, the YaleWomen Award for Excellence is the highest award bestowed by YaleWomen.  It “recognizes a particularly outstanding individual or individuals for either a singular contribution, or for contributions made over many years, to the goals and aspirations for which YaleWomen was founded. The YaleWomen Award for Excellence shall be given to an individual (or individuals) who has been an exceptional advocate for justice, equality, and access for women.”

YaleWomen may bestow two kinds of awards: the YaleWomen Award for Excellence for Lifetime Achievement and the YaleWomen Impact Award.  You will find award descriptions and nomination criteria on the online nomination form.

We will celebrate the YaleWomen Award for Excellence again in the fall of 2018.  With this issue of the enewsletter, we open the call for online nominationsWhile nominations are solicited and can be submitted year-round, the deadline for nominations to be considered for the 2018 award is Monday, January 15, 2018.  You can submit multiple nominations!  Please note that YaleWomen will maintain all nominations that are submitted and that nominees who may not be selected in one year may be eligible again in the future.

The YaleWomen Award for Excellence offers a distinctive and compelling opportunity to recognize individual(s) who have been advocates for justice, equality, and access for women in many different ways and walks of life.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Add your reaction Share

What’s in YaleWomen for me? One Alum Shares Her Story.

Yale women alums in Connecticut love to hear from other Yale women alums! One of YaleWomen Connecticut’s signature events is the Museum Trail.  During the past few years, we have visited 10 museums around the state.  These are exclusive tours, led by Yale women alums. They offer unexpected, unusual, and rich insights into the exhibits. I am a regular at these events not only because of the opportunity to go to museums I might not otherwise visit, but also because of the opportunity to meet and talk with Yale College and Graduate & Professional School alums I probably would not otherwise meet and get to know.   

Yale College alum Elysa Engelman, PhD (’94 Berkeley), Director of Exhibits at Mystic Seaport: the Museum of America and the Sea is transforming the learning experience for Seaport visitors. This past July, Elysa took a group of alums, family, and friends on a journey of interpretation as she juxtaposed two very different exhibits. SeaChange, which is housed in a new showpiece building with dramatic architecture and natural materials (designed by Centerbrook Architects and Planners, the architectural firm that also designed Kroon Hall at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies), creatively speaks to the transformations and connections in technology and American maritime culture. The exhibit features seemingly unlikely artifacts through interpretive tools, including video, audio, photography, visual activities, and even smell (yes, guano!). We slowed the pace for a contrasting exploration of Rosenfeld: On Land and On Sea – A Century of Women – a “flat” exhibit of forty 20th century black and white photographs.  Elysa’s curiosity about the different ways that people learn and engage, her interdisciplinary approach, and her enthusiasm for her work are infectious. 

During the past several years, I have participated in many YaleWomen Connecticut events, from the Museum Trail, to Curiosity and Conversation, to potluck dinners.  For me, the opportunity to come together with alums from throughout the state at these unique events is not only compelling, but it’s nearly irresistible!

To see if there is a chapter where you live or work, click here. To see the kinds of events chapters host, click here.   

Karen Warner ’06 PhD

(Photo: Elysa Engelman, PhD [’94 Berkeley]; courtesy of Mystic Seaport)

Add your reaction Share

YaleWomen Salary Negotiation Webinar Connects Yale friends around the World

Just a quick note to say hi and provide you with an example of how YaleWomen is influencing lives… Katie Ellias, my good friend from Yale, lives in Paris and we were able to sneak away from work and family for a day by ourselves in Barcelona (I was in Spain/France for a couple weeks… I know, sometimes everything just falls into place!).  Katie and I were both in the midst of considering new job opportunities (Katie in private equity and myself in law) so we were chatting about the YaleWomen webinar on negotiating salary.  It was a good program and prompted us to talk very pointedly about negotiating our own salaries as job situations change - what we can do, encouraging each other, etc.

It also made me feel somehow especially connected: here we were, walking down a street in Spain, chatting about the same webinar that was reaching both Chicago and Paris and interested both of us… it is wonderful that we are still part of something that remains relevant to our lives.  We also spent a fair amount of time together discussing the tough parts of being a woman in professions that are increasingly male-dominated as we advance in our careers – it is also nice feeling that YaleWomen is on our side and kind of 'understands.'

Yay! to YaleWomen for reaching both of us on different continents and actually influencing us about negotiating salaries, etc. We'll bridge the pay gap eventually!

Tiffany Amlot ’00, President, Yale Club of Chicago

(Photo: Katie Ellias ’00 and Tiffany Amlot ’00; courtesy of Tiffany Amlot)

Add your reaction Share