January 2018 Spotlight, Hui Chu, Ph.D.

This month, we are delighted to introduce Dr. Hui Chu (chu89@pnw.edu) as our member in spotlight. Dr. Chu is  an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Purdue University Northwest in Westville, Indiana.

Her research focuses on immigrants’ experiences including perceived discrimination, ethnic identity development, acculturation and how factors such as social support (peers and teachers) affect outcomes such mental, physical and educational outcomes. Specifically, she has worked with Latino, Asian, and Jamaican populations to identify these risky and buffering factors and further examining immigrant parents’ and children’s experiences within the classroom and family contexts.  Her other area of research examines individual differences such as personality and cortisol levels in non-immigrant individuals’ perceptions of immigrants and immigration and examines differences in prejudicial attitudes by immigrants’ authorization status and region of origin.

Dr. Hui Chu













1) We asked scholars to describe one of the following: a) what drew you to do work on Asians, Asian American children and youth, or another topic that is important to you now? b) who was an important mentor to you in this work, or an influential particular study in the field or in a related field? c) any particular advice or tips to someone starting out in the field who is doing work in your area?

I immigrated to California from South Korea when I was five years old. I remember my kindergarten teacher who had me color in the corner while she taught the rest of the class. Despite not knowing the term for it, perhaps I had experienced the harsh reality of discrimination. When I first arrived in America, I was immediately placed into the English as a Second Language (ESL) program. I remember feeling ashamed and inferior because I was segregated from the rest of my classmates. I can recall instances where other students would tease the ESL students and myself and refer to us as being dumb because of our accents. This experience ignited my lifelong passion to be an advocate for meeting the needs of diverse, underserved, and/or underprivileged communities. As a female, first generation immigrant, and first-generation college+ graduate from a low SES family, it was important for me to pursue a career that captured the stories of families, children, and youth from a variety of cultures and backgrounds.

2) A short paragraph describing a particular recent finding, current study, or recent publication and what makes you excited about it. Feel free to describe its importance from any one or more of these lenses: a) research contribution; b) our knowledge about Asian or Asian American populations; c) our knowledge about other [understudied?] populations; d) practice or policy relevance.

I am very excited to be partnering with the United Nations on a new study to examine predictors of adaptation for refugees, such as ethnic identity, acculturation, religiosity, and cognitive factors. My collaborator, Ben Freer, and I hope that the results of this project will provide exciting opportunities for policy makers and non-profit organizations to target services and interventions to promote SDG 3 (United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages) in the most effective and efficient ways.

Another project I am enthusiastic to share about is a book that a colleague, Barbara Thelamour, and I are co-editing entitled, Navigating Systems: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Immigrant Family Ecologies, for Springer Science+Business Media. This book will systematically consider the contexts immigrants navigate. Specifically, this edited volume will compile chapters based on Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory as the framework for understanding the overlapping and intersecting contexts that influence different populations of immigrants from around the world. The book is expected to be published by the end of 2018.

3) If you have any thoughts about your experiences with the Asian Caucus, that would be great! These can be just for the Caucus leadership to know, and/or a message to the Caucus community.

Especially as a graduate student, the Asian Caucus was a safe space and a source of comfort where I could connect with other scholars with similar backgrounds, struggles, and experiences. Now as an early career scholar, I am continuously grateful for this community. This year as the chair of the new subcommittee, Outreach and Communications, I am excited for the opportunity to work with the members in this subcommittee and ultimately, connect with and serve the growing number of members. Specifically, we are looking forward to making sure that our members across the continents are reached, supported, and known. Please be on the lookout for communications from the Outreach and Communications Subcommittee!

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