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Research

Research Projects

UMass Lowell Center for Asian American Studies researchers are pursuing a number of research projects, individually and collaboratively, across several disciplines. Here are some ongoing projects (click the link to read more):

The  primary goal of this study is to identify challenges, solutions, and triumphs in achieving economic stability using the ACRE model. The primary outcome is to develop a blueprint (in various media and formats) for replication of the ACRE model across MA and elsewhere. To accomplish these goals, we interview and collect life experience narratives of ACRE providers in four primary areas of well-being: Family, health, immigration and acculturation, and language. The information obtained from this project will highlight the significant contributions of immigrants to the local and global economy. Equally important, the information will be disseminated to the many organizations throughout MA and the U.S. who are interested in replicating the ACRE model.

This project is funded by the UMass 2014 Creative Economies Fund.


Healthcare  Providers' Perception of Cambodian American Female Patients in Lowell, MA PI: Ivy Ho (Psychology)

Southeast Asian American women face multiple physical health problems compared to their non-Hispanic White counterparts. Research on the physical health of Southeast Asian American women in the New England area is scarce. In order to address the paucity of such research in New England, this study focuses on Cambodian American women in Lowell, MA. Because health is a complex issue that calls for multiple levels of analyses, from micro (e.g., personal characteristics) through macro (e.g., healthcare policies) factors, the present research takes an initial step towards this contextual approach by examining one group of stakeholders, namely, healthcare providers. Specifically, this study will explore how healthcare providers perceive their young female Cambodian patients (who are between the ages of 18-24 years).

Using one-on-one interviews, healthcare providers respond to questions about their perceptions on young female Cambodian American’s adherence to provider recommendations, participation in preventative care, major health concerns, stress and coping, and substance use.

This project is funded by the UMass Boston Institute for Asian American Studies 2014 Fellowship Program.


Parental  and Familial Influences on Southeast Asian American Students’ College and Career Major Decisions - PI: Phitsamay S. Uy (Education)

This study examines how Southeast Asian parents and community members describe their understanding and influence on their students’ college and career decision-making process. Surveys (n=50) and focus groups (n=50) address the following questions: 1) How do parents and/or family members influence Southeast Asian American students’ college and/or career majors?; 2) How do parents and/or family members describe and understand Southeast Asian American students’ college and career readiness?; 3) What resources do Southeast Asian American parents and/or family members access to help them prepare their sons and/or daughters for college or careers?

Approximately 50 participants will be recruited through community-based organizations: Center for Southeast Asians (CSEA) in Providence, RI,  Viet-Aid in Dorchester, MA and Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association (CMAA) in Lowell, MA.

This project is funded by the UMass Boston Institute for Asian American Studies.


Southeast  Asian American College Readiness - PIs: Sue J. Kim and Phitsamay Uy

This study assesses college readiness among first-semester Southeast Asian American students at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Through surveys (n=50) and focus groups (n=25), the researchers will address the following questions:

  1. According to a variety of standard metrics, how prepared are Southeast Asian American students for college?
  2. How ready for college do urban, low-income, college-aged, Southeast Asian/immigrant students feel themselves to be?
  3. What are urban, low-income Southeast Asian/immigrant youths’ aspirations during and after college?
  4. What resources – in the community as well as within the university – do urban, low-income, college-aged, Southeast Asian/immigrant individuals draw on that may help them reach their post-secondary aspirations?

This project is funded by the UMass Boston Asian American Student Success Program.


Sharing  Our Stories:  A Collection of Pacific Islanders and Southeast Asian Stories About Schooling and Culture PI: Phitsamay S. Uy

This research study examines how Pacific Islander and Southeast Asian (PISEA) community members describe their understanding of storytelling and their personal experience with the U.S. school system. In-depth interviews (n=40) address the following questions:

  • What stories do Pacific Islanders and Southeast Asian community members describe as significant in their lives?
  • What stories should mainstream public school teachers know in order to teach Pacific Islanders and Southeast Asian children and youth?
  • What is the Pacific Islanders and Southeast Asian community members’ individual personal story and experience with the U.S. school system?

With the help of University of Hawaii Manoa staff, college student participants and general PISEA community members were recruited.


UMass President’s Office 2011 Creative  Economy Initiatives Fund - PIs: Allyssa McCabe and Khanh Dinh

Exploring Identity and Family Relationships in Latino and Asian Adolescents through Personal Narratives and Life Stories (in collaboration with Lowell High School).


Research , Scholarship, and Creative Work Seed Grants - PIs: Khanh Dinh and Allyssa McCabe

Exlores the Life Experiences of Southeast Asian Youth: Acculturation, Social Influences, and Well-Being (in collaboration with Lowell High School).


The  Asian Food Acculturation Study - PIs: Khanh Dinh and Ivy Ho

Examines the influence of Asian food preference on cultural identity and orientation, family relationships, and well-being among diverse young adults.


Cambodian  Genocide Memorials (Working title) - PI: George Chigas

The project examines the creation and function of Cambodian Genocide Memorials in Cambodia and the United States. The research focuses on the spiritual function of the memorials in the context of Cambodian animistic and Buddhist systems of belief. 


A  History of the Cambodian American Community: 1980-2015 - PI: George Chigas

The proposed project will research the history of the Lowell Cambodian American community from 1980 to 2015 in order to produce an academic article. This research will involve: 1) archival research, primarily using the Lowell Sun newspaper and Khmer language periodicals published in Lowell; and 2) personal interviews with members of Lowell’s Cambodian American community. The purpose of the research and personal interviews is to identify significant people, events and developments that “tell the story” of the Lowell Cambodian American community during this 35-year period.

This project is funded by the UMass Boston Institute for Asian American Studies. 


The  Literate Lives of Southeast Asian American Children in the Classroom: Rethinking Early Childhood Literacy Curriculum from an Ecological Perspective - PI: Min Jeong Kim

This study explores narrative of young children and their mothers in a predominantly Cambodian American classroom. 

This project is funded by the UMass Boston Institute for Asian American Studies.