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Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) through the Story of Our Names

SWE's Asian Connections Affinity Group share the stories of their names in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
Asian Connections Affinity Group

Storytelling can help us understand others and ourselves. As one of the most universal human experiences, sharing stories allows us to both connect with and strengthen our communities. In being vulnerable with our own stories, we can open up safe spaces for our community members to reciprocate. Storytelling grants us the power to take pride in our unique experiences and to promote inclusion of perspectives beyond our own.

The Asian Connections Affinity Group (ACAG) is celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month by celebrating the diversity of our members’ names! Each of our names has a story and a history, which both deserve honoring. We invited members of the ACAG to share the story of their names and their pride in their APA heritage.

In our Story of Your Name Scrapbook, we had the privilege to showcase the broad history of some of our members’ names. These stories touched on the Asian American diaspora as their names became Romanized through immigration or assimilation, the adoptee experience of having other cultural names while holding pride in Asian heritage, and the dreams of parents that manifest through their children’s names. Taking inspiration from mythical stories to celebrities, our names have shaped our lived experiences and how we carry ourselves through the world.

We invite you to read more about these stories through our scrapbook! (We also have a text-only version.)

We encourage the broader SWE community to use the Story of Your Name activity as an icebreaker or as a DEI&B moment. Participants can share any part of their name that holds significance to them and why. Not only does this help others remember names more clearly, but it can also spark further conversations. We recommend giving advance notice prior to using this activity, as some may need to research the history of their names (i.e., asking family members, looking through records, etc.).


  • Kristine Loh

    Kristine Loh (she/her) is a PhD Candidate in Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota. As an NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the Ferry and Kortshagen Groups, she studies the optical properties of nontoxic nanomaterials for their applications in renewable energy technologies, such as solar windows and greenhouse roofs. Outside of research, she enjoys K-12 STEM outreach, experimenting with her air fryer, and trying new restaurants in the Twin Cities.

  • Jyrteanna Teo

    Jyrteanna Teo (she/her) is a 5th Year Bachelor’s/Master’s Student in Architectural Engineering on the Building Systems/Building Energy track at Drexel University. She is currently the Social Media Lead for the SWE ACAG and the President of Drexel’s ASHRAE Student Chapter. In her spare moments, she enjoys indulging in creative pursuits such as crafts and photography, as well as tending to her avocado plants.