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  • SE3 Racial Equity Task Group

Read.Watch.Listen. AAPI Heritage Month

May 2021 Issue

A monthly forum to share diversity, equity, and inclusion resources.

Welcome to the next installment of Read.Watch.Listen: a monthly forum hosted by the NCSEA SE3 Committee to share and promote conversations on diversity, equity and inclusion within the structural engineering profession. Each month, we will curate a series of articles, audio-visual and digital media to facilitate self-education in matters that affect our professional practice as structural engineers. Whether you choose to read, watch, or listen (or all three!), we hope you will join us in this important conversation.

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

In this post, we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. May is dedicated to recognizing the contributions AAPI citizens have made to society in the United States. Our resources illustrate the biases, stereotypes, and discrimination that the AAPI community experiences in the workplace and beyond. Ultimately, the links showcase ways to support our AAPI colleagues and provide suggestions for how to reduce bias in the workplace and in STEM education.

While discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders has been prevalent in the U.S. for centuries, the recent COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in increased violence toward the AAPI community. In addition to the resources below, we recommend watching the short video poem, “a word”, which underscores this surge in violent attacks. You can also watch PBS’s 5-part Asian Americans series (currently free to stream) to learn more about Asian American history in the US.

Share your thoughts and/or recommended resources for the next issue at


Asian Americans are the Least Likely Group in the U.S. to be Promoted to Management - Harvard Business Review

Written by Buck Gee and Denise Peck, this article presents the disparity between the presence of Asian Americans in entry-level positions and their presence in upper management. The authors present solutions to this phenomena (referred to as the “Asian glass ceiling”) and ways to increase diversity in the workplace.


Why Asian Americans Are Not the Model Minority - TEDx Vanderbilt University

Alice Li, a student at Vanderbilt University, describes how the “Model Minority Myth” contributes to issues such as poverty and discrimination within the AAPI community. She discusses how the “model minority” label actually furthers discrimination, and serves to label Asian Americans as outsiders.


Lost in Translation: Demystifying and Maximizing Asian Culture - SWE WE20 Session

A panel of engineers (Tuyet-Hanh Schnell, Vanessa Li, Khánh Vũ, and Le Si Qu) discuss the challenges of being an Asian American engineer working in the United States. They share their experiences with the cultural biases and stereotypes they’ve faced in their career. The speakers also provide advice on how to be an ally to AAPI coworkers.


This article was originally published in the May 2021 issue of NCSEA's Structural Connection newsletter. For more information, check out NCSEA's DEI Resources.

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