For the month of February, we are spotlighting Ciara Timban!

Ciara is a Public Health major with a minor in A/PIA Studies and is planning to graduate this spring. Ciara is also a recent winner of the Joel S. Siegel Scholarship, which is awarded to majors/ minors who show a potential for excellence in our program. Ciara has displayed a deep interest in health care policies and her A/PIA identity, and she has been very active on campus in the A/PIA community.

We are very proud to have her in American Culture, and we know she will do great things in her future! See below to read her full interview.

For more information of the Joel S. Siegel Scholarship, or on the other scholarships that AC offers, please visit our website at:

  1. Where did you grow up? What are your interests/ hobbies?

    I was born and raised in New Jersey, but then moved to Troy, Michigan halfway through high school and have lived here ever since! Over the past 3 years, I've been very active in the A/PIA community here on campus and have been involved in several student organizations. Currently, I hold positions in both the Korean Student Association and alpha Kappa Delta Phi (an Asian-interest sorority). In the past, I've been apart of the United Asian American Organization and the Midwest Asian American Student Union. Outside of school, some of my interests and hobbies include politics, fashion and makeup, keeping up my food instagram from time to time, and traveling.

  2. Why did you choose APIA as your minor? What would you recommend to a student who is debating whether or not to declare? 

    I chose to pursue A/PIA Studies as my minor because I really wanted the opportunity to explore my Asian American identity and learn more about my history. I definitely did not come into college thinking that I would choose A/PIA Studies as my minor (let alone knew that the program existed), but having fallen in love with some of the first A/PIA studies courses I took, I knew I wanted to take more. For anyone who is debating about whether or not to declare, I think it's important to remember that A/PIA Studies is about more than just learning Asian American history. For me, this minor has given me the chance to think more critically about my own experiences as an Asian American woman and has allowed me to reclaim my culture and identity.

  3. What was your favorite AC class that you would recommend and why?

    Some of my favorite AC classes that I would highly recommend are AMCULT 310: The Filipino American Experience. I took AMCULT 310 for personal reasons because as a Filipino-Korean American, I've always struggled to connect with my Filipino American identity. This class (and Auntie Emily Lawsin!) really allowed me to feel more connected with my culture and learn more about the long history of Filipino in the U.S.

  4. What do you hope to do after you graduate, and how will your minor help your goals?

    After graduation, I hope to work on Capitol Hill for a few years before going back to graduate school to get a Masters in Public Health. In particular, I'm interested in doing health policy work around underserved communities and access to health care. I like to think that my A/PIA Studies minor really complements my Public Health degree by giving me the tools to think more critically about the ways in which race impacts health and equity.

  5. What is the most important thing you have learned in your APIA classes? How do you want to use what you learned in your future career?

    One of the most important things I've learned from my A/PIA classes (and also one of my favorite is sayings) is "No history, no self." I've always believed that it's important to understand your own history and background, especially for people of color. I hope to use what I've learned from my A/PIA Studies classes to better serve the A/PIA community in the future.

  6. What research project are you working on? How would you like to use this research in the future?

    I am currently working on a research project in the School of Public Health that focuses on barriers and facilitators to health care accessibility for Asian Americans. I'm really proud to be helping out with this research because there is very little academic literature in the Public Health field focused on Asian American health disparities, and I hope to continue doing similar research in the future.

  7. What is your favorite memory from college?

    I have too many favorite memories to choose from, but I think the one that really sticks out for me was being able to organize and host the Korean Student Association's Annual Culture Show last year. It was by far one of the most rewarding experiences I've had in college, and I'm so thankful to have had the opportunity to share my culture.