An Interview with AAS Major Shivani Bhogaraju

Date

03/24/22

What started your interest in Asian American Studies? How long have you been a major?

I took AAS 100 my freshman year and found the material really interesting. I was especially fascinated by the ways the course connected a lot of the historical events that my parents and grandparents lived through to current social problems that we are facing today. I declared my AAS major later that year, so I have been an AAS major for three years!

How has majoring in Asian American Studies helped you, either in your personal or professional life?

Majoring in Asian American Studies has helped me in both my personal and professional life. Professionally, the intense focus of the major on critical reading, writing, and analysis has given me a significant leg up. Last year, I interned for EMILY’S List, a pro-choice Democratic PAC. My Asian American Studies courses taught me how to engage with current events from a critical lens, and I was able to apply that to my internship through my writing. Personally, majoring in Asian American Studies has helped me to think about how I can make my social spaces more inclusive and welcoming for all. 

What other activities do you do on campus?

On campus, I am the Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for my sorority. I am also a tour guide and the social media coordinator for Champaign’s domestic violence shelter, Courage Connection.

What are your plans for after graduation?

After graduation, I hope to go into political communications and media. Eventually, I hope to either attend law school or get my master’s degree in public health. 

How do you think having majored in AAS will affect your life in the future?

Majoring in Asian American Studies has given me a lens through which I can interpret the complexities of our day to day culture. I am so grateful for the opportunities that the Asian American Studies Department has given me to question my perspectives as well as the perspectives of my peers. Asian American Studies coursework has not only transformed me into a better student, but a more empathetic and articulate person.