Vanessa Na

She/Her/Hers

Vanessa S. Na (Vanessa Teck) is a Khmer American doctoral student in the Education Studies Program at the University of California, San Diego and serves as a research associate for the National Institute for Transformation and Equity (NITE). Her research aims to understand how communities of color build solidarities and coalitions in an effort to create alternate possibilities of relationality (existing, being, doing) in higher education. Vanessa is is guided by the philosophy of co-creating knowledge that is accessible, representative of, and relevant to the communities that she serves. She hopes to honor the work of her communities by investing in cultivating liberating and inclusive campus environments for historically minoritized communities.

Vanessa has been deeply engaged in national Asian American student organizations for close to a decade, leading her to speak at institutions across the country about student activism and radical love. She has been featured on prominent Asian American media outlets, such as Khmerican, Project Yellow Dress, Angry Asian Man, Reappropriate, and NBC Asian America.

Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked within equity and inclusion units, multicultural affairs, student affairs, and public relations. Vanessa received both her M.A. in Higher Education and B.A. in Intercultural Communications and Digital Media Studies from the University of Denver.

 

Master of Arts (M.A.)
Higher Education, concentration in Diversity and Higher Learning
University of Denver, 2015

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
Intercultural Communications and Digital Media Studies
Minor in Leadership Studies
University of Denver, 2013

2017-CURRENT CULTURALLY ENGAGING CAMPUS ENVIRONMENTS (CECE) STAFF SURVEY PROJECT

• Quantitative research study focusing on establishing reliability and validity of the Culturally Engaging Campus Environments Staff (CECE-S) survey. This study also seeks to understand how campus environments are related to staff experiences (e.g., sense of belonging, motivation, self-efficacy, etc).
• Role: Project Lead

2017-CURRENT THE COLLEGE STUDENT LEADERSHIP STUDY

• In collaboration with the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good, the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, the National Institute for Transformation and Equity is engaged in research to understand student leadership in the Midwest. Through surveys and interviews with college student organization advisors and student leaders, this project is excavating how students’ experiences shape their engagement in social justice-oriented leadership. Writing in progress.
• Role: Research team member
• Project Awarded: $300,000 ($150,000 for two years; Kellogg Leadership Grant)

2016-CURRENT COLLEGE ACCESS PROJECT (CAP)

• The CAP project is aimed at understanding the factors that positively and negatively shape Southeast Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders’ trajectories to higher education. Interviews with Southeast Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are being analyzed to illuminate the ways in which critical factors shape these pathways. Writing in progress.
• Role: Project Lead

 2017 (UP)LIFT AS WE CLIMB: A COLLABORATIVE AUTOETHNOGRAPHY OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN AMERICAN WOMEN PURSUING THE ACADEMY

• This collaborative autoethnography explores the experiences of four self-identifying Southeast Asian American (SEAA) women in doctoral programs. Based on a collective reflection of our racialized and gendered identities, findings address barriers that SEAA women encounter during their educational experiences and identifies major themes that have shaped their educational experiences. Presented at the 2017 Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Conference.
• Role: Research team member

2015 HOW ASIAN AMERICAN NATIVE AMERICAN PACIFIC ISLANDER SERVING INSTITUTIONS PROMOTE SUCCESS

• A qualitative research study utilizing the Culturally Engaging Campus Environments Model to further understand Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs). This project seeks to explore how AANAPISIs promote success for Asian American and Pacific Islander students.
• Role: Research Team Member
• Project Awarded: $15,000

2015 ASSESSING THE NEED FOR ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER SUPPORT SERVICES

• Policy analysis and case study of two Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) support centers to examine how the institutionalization of such centers impact the experiences of AAPI students.
• Role: Principal Investigator

2015 COLLECTING ASIAN AMERICAN REFUGEE STORIES (CARS) PROJECT

• In collaboration with Asian Pacific Development Center (APDC) and Project Ava, this project documented the stories and voices of Asian American and Pacific Islander refugee youth and parents from Burma, Bhutan, and Nepal.
• Role: Research Team Member

2018 Charlie and Jeanetta Nelms Graduate Student Professional Development Award ($485)
2018 Second-generation Profile Feature, Project Yellow Dress
2016 Life Stories Feature, NBC Asian America
2015 Angry Reader of the Week, Angry Asian Man Blog
2015 Leadership in Inclusive Excellence Award, University of Denver Higher Education Program
2015 Respect for Difference Outstanding Graduate Nominee, University of Denver
2015 University of Denver College of Education Student Association Conference Travel Grant ($250)
2014 Cambodian Americans to Watch, Phnom Penh Magazine
2014 Inclusive Excellence Fellow, University of Denver
2014 Leadership and Advocacy Training Program, Southeast Asian Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
2013 Summer Internship Program, OCA National
2013 Pioneer Award (Highest Honor), University of Denver
2012 Rising Star, Asian Avenue Magazine
2012 Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Student Spotlight, University of Denver
2012 Emerging Leaders Program Pilot Cohort, Colorado Dragonboat Festival
2012 Distinguished Third Year Student, University of Denver
2011 One to Watch, University of Denver’s Alumni Magazine
2011 Outstanding Second Year Student, University of Denver
2009-2013 Dean’s List and Hornbeck Scholar
2009-2013 Pioneer Leadership Program
2009-2013 Excelling Leaders Institute
2009-2011 Elison Scholar

Vanessa Na

Department of Education Studies