ART BIO BOOKS NOTES PRESS WRITING
Angel Trazo (she/her) is a PhD student in Cultural Studies at UC Davis. She received her MA in Asian American Studies from UCLA and her Bachelor's in Biology and Studio Art from Colgate University.
She is the author and illustrator of the children's book We Are Inspiring: The Stories of 32 Inspirational Asian American Women (2019). Her scholarship has been published in Intersections: Critical Issues in Education and ASAP/Journal, and her visual artwork has been featured on PBS and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.
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UC Davis, Cultural Studies PhD student
2020 - UCLA, Master's of Arts, Asian American Studies
2017 - Colgate University, Bachelor's of Arts, Biology and Art & Art History
research interests: Asian American youth culture, ethnic studies storytelling through visual arts (comics, zines, & graphic novels), Asian Americans in higher eduction
Photos taken at the Computer Science Museum Mountain View, CA, TeaPop Los Angeles, CA, Brooklyn Sketchbook Library, NY, and The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles, CA.
You did Bio and Art in undergrad? What was that like?
I'd try to combine the two. For one, I made this diagram of mitochondria and now it's published in a paper I helped author. It was honestly so difficult to balance - both are such time consuming tracks. I was always in lab or in the art studio. I'd do my art homework in the Cancer Bio lab while waiting for my Western Blot to finish or work on my lab notebooks in the Art Studio while waiting for paint to dry or an animation to upload. Luckily, my friend, Leo, was a fellow Pre-Med/Art Major and we kept each other motivated! He's on his way to becoming a surgeon. Back then, I kind of wanted to be a pediatrician. I volunteered in Pediatrics at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center for over a year. But when you know your passion and deny yourself that dream (assuming you have the privilege to pursue that dream) it hurts...
Throughout college, I always knew I wanted to do art more than science, but it felt difficult to get out of STEM since my relatives on both sides of the family are either doctors, dentists, pharmacists, or nurses. I also wasn't that bad at Bio so I stuck with it and graduated with a dual degree. Plus, I worked with amazing folks in both parts of campus, which kept me on both the artistic and STEM tracks.
How did you shift from Bio/Art to Asian American Studies?
There wasn't an Asian American Studies Department at my undergrad institution. I actually didn't know Asian American Studies as a field even existed until a month before I graduated college. I'd created a comic book for my Studio Art thesis that largely dealt with Asian American contemporary issues and wrote a blog post about it. Soon after, I connected with an Asian American artist, Katie Quan, through e-mail in 2017.
She was doing her MA in Asian American Studies at SFSU. We finally talked on Skype one day that summer of 2017 while she was in the Bay and I was pursuing Graphic Design in NYC. She inspired me to apply to Asian Am Studies programs. We finally met in-person a year later at an art show (which I wrote about on Asian Am News) when I was still working on my grad school applications and taking my first Asian Am classes at DeAnza Community College. I got into UCLA's Asian American Studies program a few months later.
Angel and Katie spreading the love for Asian American Studies through comics + zines, SF Zinefest 2019.
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