How to Disrupt a System That Was Built to Hold You Back

by Lan Nguyen Chaplin

I’ve been working in academia for two decades. My colleagues would probably describe me as someone with “an upbeat personality” who’s obsessed with learning and being a good peer. I might even describe myself, or the side of me that shows up for work every day, in the same way.

But there is another side, a more private one, that lives in me too. I’m an Asian American woman who has fought her way into the position of tenured professor. I’m the daughter of Vietnamese refugees who came to the United States to build a better life. I’m the youngest of 14 children and the mother of two. And while I consider my background one of many blessings and am grateful for the doors ...

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