Meet Demeturie Toso-Lafaele Gogue, 2019-2021 APAN Co-Chair

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Demeturie Toso-Lafaele Gogue
2019-2021 APAN Co-Chair

Pronouns: he/him/his
Ph.D. Student; University of California, Los Angeles

Undergraduate institution: University of California, Berkeley

Graduate institution(s): The University of Vermont

What drew you to Student Affairs?
At the University of California, Berkeley, I was heavily involved in multicultural student organizations that worked with underserved and underrepresented communities of color. Through my work with REACH! Asian Pacific Islander (API) Recruitment and Retention Center and the bridges Multicultural Resource Center, I developed a passion for working with students who, similar to my own experience, were trying to navigate higher education and find a community with individuals who looked like them. It was through my involvement that I was able to connect with my lifelong mentor, Marissa Reynoso, whose love for her students and the field continues to inspire me. With her mentorship and guidance, I applied to graduate school and accepted my admissions to The University of Vermont. There, I earned my Master of Education in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration.

How did you become involved in ACPA/APAN?
I became involved with ACPA and APAN with the help of my mentor, Dr. Vijay Kanagala. He encouraged me to get involved in many of the APIDA communities through social media and provided me with the opportunity to attend ACPA 2016. He also encouraged me to apply to be a Regional Ambassador during the 2016/2017 academic year. It was through my positive experience as a Regional Ambassador that I applied to be a part of the 2017/2018 APAN Leadership Team.

What are you most excited about for APAN this year?
In addition to connecting with APIDA professionals across the country, I am excited to engage in critical dialogue with members of our APAN community. My goal is to learn from the wealth of experiences that we possess as a network and to grow in my own understanding of the various challenges that our communities encounter. As a Pacific Islander in the field, I hope to be a part of an APAN leadership team that invites and ensures that my community’s narrative is not lost.

What is one resource (i.e. book, article, film, etc.) that you would recommend to a Student Affairs professional to better support APIDA students?
I recommended this last year, and I believe that it is still pertinent to our community today: Dr. Lisa Kahaleole Hall’s scholarship “Which of These Things is not like the Other: Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders are not Asian Americans, and all Pacific Islanders are not Hawaiian.” Dr. Hall acknowledges the issues that arise with the homogenization of the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. In this article, she addresses the ways in which coalition building, as it relates to the API label, can be detrimental for Pacific Islander communities. As APIDA higher education and student affairs scholar practitioners, if our goal is to support our communities, it is important that we also understand the students we hope to serve. Dr. Kahaleole Hall raises provocative questions that are crucial to the work that we do for and within the APIDA communities; for example, when we use the term APIDA, which communities are we continuing to privilege in our conversations and whose narratives and experiences are we not including?

Fun fact that you’d like to share: During my fourth year of college, I joined the ballroom dancing team and competed with other colleges and universities in California. I have medals to prove that I was actually good.

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