Coming To Terms With Cultural Heritage

Rising senior Krystle Jiang is this year’s recipient of the Benigno and Corazon Aquino scholarship, which honors students who represent the highest ideals and aspirations of the University and the Asian American community. But there was a time not long ago when Jiang felt trapped, rather than empowered, by her Chinese heritage.

Growing up in a predominantly white, upper-middle class New Jersey suburb, Jiang often endured taunts — for eating dried seaweed as a snack, for example — and racial jokes aimed at her cultural background. So, as Jiang explains, “I quickly learned how to fit in. But unfortunately, my way of doing that was in sequestering my Chinese-ness to my house.”

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