Meet Our Scholars
Teachers College, Columbia University
Social Studies & Education
AL Liou is a second-generation Taiwanese American who was born and raised in Edison, NJ. Growing up in a predominately Asian/American immigrant community, AL was deeply involved in community organizations that helped them develop a strong racial and ethnic identity. This involvement also helped them realize how institutionalized, grassroots support can foster identity, community, and activism in young people. However, with the silence around gender and sexuality in an immigrant community with strong patriarchal values, AL struggled to come to terms with their identity as a gender non-conforming queer youth. Given their position, AL wanted to make space for counternarratives of the model minority myth, including queer diasporic narratives. In college, AL assumed leadership positions in the Pan Asian community and in social justice organizations to bridge this personal gap, creating programmatic space for dialogue around intersectional identity, community, solidarity, and service projects. After graduation, AL became a middle school teacher and worked with young people to use technology and design to share counternarratives and build critical community. As an educator and an activist, AL has advocated for the institutionalization of Ethnic Studies and Asian American Studies at the K-12 and post-secondary levels, including the first Asian American Studies class in their hometown. As a doctoral student, they hope to expand this advocacy by studying youth activism and the pedagogical practices that help to sustain it.