Past ASPIRE Mentors


Linda (Leena) Yang, She/Her/Hers

Hi everyone! I'm Linda, but you can call me Leena. I am a fourth year studying Sociology with a minor in Asian-American Studies. I am Hmong-American and am a first-generation college student. I will be serving my 2nd term on the Asian-American Student Union board as External Vice-President, so if you want to know how to get involved, come ask me! I'm super excited for this awesome program and can't wait to see where it goes!


Johanna Back, She/Her/Hers

Hi everyone! My name is Johanna and I am a fourth year majoring in neuroscience and minoring in public health and psychology. I immigrated to the United States from South Korea when I was 7 years old, and have two siblings that both currently go to the U. I have been super involved on campus throughout my four years, including holding board positions on the Korean Student Association, Chung Gong, and University Honors Student Association. I'm super excited to meet you all and grow alongside you!


Audrey San Diego, She/Her/Hers

My name is Audrey, and I am a proud Filipina! I am a senior majoring in Materials Science and Engineering and Product Design. Here are some fun facts about me:
I love, love, love musicals, especially Hamilton (pretty sure I learned everything about US History from this musical alone). I grew up in the Philippines and Singapore. I love Brit lit. 


Suilong Xiong, He/Him/His

Hello! My name is SuiLong Leo Xiong. I am a fourth year studying Child Psychology at the University of Minnesota: Twin Cities. I am Hmong-American. I have 3 other siblings and they mean the world to me. I am the Public Relations Co-Chair for the Hmong Minnesota Student Association. I love to travel. I've been to 11 countries in Europe. I'm looking forward to visiting more countries in the near future. I like to karaoke so lets go do it sometime. I'm super excited to be apart of the ASPIRE mentorship program. I can't wait to share this wonderful journey with you all! 


Samantha Keopraseut, She/Her/Hers

Hi, my name is Samantha but I go by Sam or Sammi. I am a sophomore but program-wise a Junior in Medical Laboratory Science with minors in Asian American Studies and Comparative Race & Ethnicity Studies. Some fun facts about me: I train in karate and compete in traditional open hand form and sparring. I am a Sister of Alpha Phi Gamma Sorority Inc. I am a new furmom to a puppy named Turbo. My favorite food is papaya salad. My favorite Lao saying is, "if it's not spicy then it's not good." I love hip hop & rnb. I identify as mostly being Lao-American but I am also part Viet and Chinese. Lastly, I am socially awkward in an outgoing way.


Brenda Khang, She/Her/Hers

Hi everyone! My name is Brenda Khang. I am a third year studying Human Resource Development with a minor in leadership. I am a proud Hmong-American who loves to traditional Hmong dance. I am a sister of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Incorporated as well as the 2016-17 Activities Coordinator for ASU (Asian-American Student Union). I love being involved and am constantly looking for ways to grow individually and with others. I look forward to growing together!


Joan Dao, She/Her/Hers

Hi I'm Joan. I'm a fifth year Neuroscience major. A small sampling of things I do: I'm a member of the NAACP for Child Protection Services working on legislation to advocate for children the African American community. I love performance poetry. I helped the design the first makerspace on campus and currently run them. I teach martial arts (I'm a Sensei rank in Shoryn Ryu Karate)


Crystal Luo, She/Her/Hers

Hi, I'm Crystal! I'm Chinese-American and a sophomore in computer science. I'm super excited for ASPIRE to get rolling! I'm from St. Louis, Missouri! I'm a board member for the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers, and I coordinate the high school outreach program. I play clarinet. My favorite part of college is free food.


Tai Do, He/Him/His

Hi my name is Tai. I am a 2nd year graduate student in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota. My work centers around disparities in education, intersecting psychological and sociological antecedents to translational settings such as education. I immigrated to the United States from Vietnam at the age of 5. Using my background, past and current experiences, and motivation to empower students, I strive to be a mentor that will actively traverse through your experiences, aspirations, and goals with you. 


Pajar Lee, She/Her/Hers

Hello! My name is Pajar Lee and I am a junior here at the UMN Twin Cities. I am majoring in Family Social Science and minoring Leadership. Some more facts about me are that I aspire to become an Adolescent and Couples Therapist, I am Hmong American, I love people and ice cream, and I am so excited to meet new people and be a part of the APARC community. I also love to read so if you have any good book recommendations, let me know!


Justin Thao, He/Him/His

Hello Everyone! My name is Justin Chalee Thao and I am third year student studying Human Resource Development with a minor in Leadership. I am Hmong-American and the youngest son of six siblings. I am the President of the Asian-American Student Union (ASU) here that the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. I am an ESFP and my top five strengths are adaptability, includer, positivity, restorative and woo. I am blessed to have this opportunity and hope to share my experiences with you all.


Annika Duch, She/Her/Hers

I'm Annika Duch and I'm 19 and a first generation Cambodian-American. I'm a 2nd year student here at the University studying Nurisng and minoring in Chinese language studies. I am the Internal Public Relations for the Cambodian Student Association Minnesota. Some fun facts about me: I love love love kpop, kdrama and anime. My favorite color is black. I love food especially Asian food and home cooked food is the best! I'm addicted to boba tea! I'm always on my phone and social media.


Christina Sunhee Chung, She/Her/Hers

Hello all! My name is Christina Sunhee Chung and I am senior in the College of Liberal Arts. I'm pursuing a Bachelor of Individualized Studies in Global Studies, Mass Communication, and Creative Writing. I joined APARC's ASPIRE program because I want to help someone grow in their identity settle into this university. Here are some facts about me. My favorite number is 3. My third favorite animal are turtles, (2nd are dogs and 1st are elephants). I am Korean-American. I'm easily excitable. I've twisted my ankles over 20 times collectively. I can't wait to spend the rest of the year learning and growing with all of you lovely people!


Nathan Murphy, He/Him/His

Hi everyone! My name is Nathan Murphy. I am a second-year Neuroscience major here at the University, so if you have questions about CBS, come to me! I am the oldest of three children and my youngest brother is three months old. I am also the External Vice President for the Korean Student Association on campus. I am ENFP and my top five strengths are Includer, Resorative, Empathy, Developer, and Intellection. I look forward to meeting all of you!


Julie Her, She/Her/Hers

Hello! Nyob zoo! My name is Julie Her and I am a third year student majoring in Family Social Science. I love learning about relationships, especially family ones. So, if you’re ever curious about my major or want any type of relationship advice, hit me up! (Haha, just kidding about the advice). But, some cool facts about me, I am the Vice President of the Hmong Minnesota Student Association (HMSA) this year and have been involved with HMSA since my freshmen year. So, if you’re looking to make new friends and/or finding a home on campus, come talk to me and get to know the amazing people within my student org! Favorite Youtuber is Jenn Im or clothesencounter! I LOVE singing and would be down to Karaoke any day! Also, my to go movie genres for a movie night are horror, suspense, and K-drama! One of my biggest dream is to travel to Thailand and South Korea! I want to go to Thailand because I’d love to try their street foods. As for South Korea, I’m a HUGE skincare addict (or like to think that I am) so where else to go than the biggest skincare nation? Anyways, I’m excited to meet you all!  


Neda Khi, She/Her/Hers

Hello! My name is Neda and I am a third year majoring in HRD and minoring in HRIR at the University of Minnesota. I love being involved in my community and serve as the Internal VP for CSAM (Cambodian Student Association of Minnesota), President of the AK Chapter of Sigma Psi Zeta Sorority Inc. and an APIAVote Student Ambassador. I'm thrilled to be part of APARC's ASPIRE program and can't wait to learn from others and be more engaged in the conversation. 


Matthew Her, He/Him/His

Nyob zoo! My name is Matthew and I am a junior double majoring in Korean and Linguistics with a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language. I love learning about languages and cultures which is why I aspire to travel abroad. I have worked with youth for about three years and will be planning to enter in the field of education after graduation. I am involved with the Hmong Minnesota Student Association and have experience of being a board member for this organization. I love dancing and one-on-ones. Get to know me throughout the year!  


Tenzin Dhakong, She/Her/Hers

Hello, everyone! My name is Tenzin Dhakong and I am a junior studying Political Science with a minor in American Studies. I am 1.5 generation immigrant, meaning that I was born in another country but raised in the United States. I am also a first-generation college student. At the UMN, I am the co-President of the Tibetan American Student Association. Outside of school, I have been involved in multiple progressive campaigns and causes. I am extremely passionate about creating systems of equity and diversity through policy work. I am so excited to be part of the ASPIRE program and to meet all the mentees!


Theresa Nguyen, She/Her/Hers

Hi, my name is Theresa Nguyen. I'm a fourth year student studying English literature and biology. On campus, I am also a part of MCAE, President's Emerging Scholars, and the Pre-Physician Assistant club. I'm excited to be a part of the ASPIRE program and look forward to supporting, motivating, and empowering other students as a peer mentor. Some things about me: I'm a certified nursing assistant and I hope to be a physician assistant who writes fiction on the side. I like 70's/80's music and K-pop. I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I'm an INFP (meaning I'm creative and idealistic but often fall into hermit mode). I'm easily spooked, but I like watching shows/documentaries about ghosts and aliens. I look forward to meeting all of you; good luck this semester!


Chenyu Guo, He/Him/His

Hi y'all my name is Chenyü and I'm a fourth year student studying Human Resource Development and Leadership minor.

I am a first generation immigrant. I was born in Yuci, China and grew up in Beijing till I was 14. I lived in Las Vegas, NV throughout my high school years with my family and ended up here in Minneapolis for college. Home is wherever I am.

During my college years I have been involved in many different cultural organizations. I am a brother of Sigma Lambda Beta, a Latino-based multicultural fraternity. I have also been involved in and volunteered for many organizations such as La Raza, BSU, Business Association of Multicultural Students, MISA, MSA, and ASU. Despite my involvement with cultural organizations, I feel like I did not connect with the Asian American community on campus. This is partially because, as a new citizen of the United States, Asian American is a new identity for me. I am continue exploring this new identity and I look forward to this mentor program as an opportunity to grow for both my mentee and myself.


Kang Yang, She/Her/Hers

Hello, everyone! My name is Kang Yang and I am a fourth year studying Biology, Society and Environment (BSE) here at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. I am Hmong-American and I come from a large family of 9 children, consisting of 8 girls and 1 boy. Because of my role as one of the oldest, I have grown to enjoy working with children and have been mentoring students for about 3 years now. I hope to someday join the incredible team of healthcare providers as a physician assistant in pediatrics. I am grateful for being a part of ASPIRE and look forward to the numerous opportunities and experiences that this program has to offer to both mentees and mentors.


Katrina Vang, She/Her/Hers

Hi hi hi! I am so excited to get to know all of you and see ASPIRE grow not only in numbers but develop as a useful and memorable resource to students on campus! My name is Katrina and I am a senior, studying Biology, Society, and Environment with a minor in Public Health. Here are some fun facts about me! I was born in Appleton, WI. I am Hmong American. I prefer iced coffee over hot coffee. I am a Lead Peer Mentor for President's Emerging Scholars. I play golf and soccer. My favorite season is Fall. I've always wanted to go to Seattle, especially to Mount Rainier National Park. I looked at schools out there before my decision to go to the U, so I guess my heart is still yearning to go there!  My favorite color is green. I love love love ice cream.