May is Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage month. This broad term includes cultures from the entire Asian continent—including East, Southeast and South Asia—and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.  

This month we highlight members of our community who identify as Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and who are making contributions to our college and society as researchers, instructors, student leaders and alumni.  

We celebrate the lives of role models such as Col. Ellison Onizuka (Aero’69; MS’69), who became the first Asian American astronaut in space, and Kalpana Chawla (MAeroEngr'86; PhD'88), who became a naturalized citizen in 1991 and was selected for the NASA astronaut corps in 1994. We also recognize and appreciate the students, faculty and staff in our community who add their voices and perspectives every day. 

CU Boulder Engineering recognizes that the terms “Asian American” and “Asian Pacific Islander” may not fully capture the unique experiences of individuals who identify as Asian American or Pacific Islander. We also recognize that a term that feels right for one person may not adequately capture the experience of another. The term sometimes has the practical effect of omitting cultural differences and masking the needs of specific communities and has excluded the experience of South, Southeast, Central, and West Asians.

We seek to celebrate as broadly and inclusively as possible, and to encourage individuals to proudly claim whatever label(s) best describe how they personally identify. As a college we come together to educate ourselves, offer allyship, oppose all expressions of AAPI hate and affirm and appreciate the AAPI members of our community.