Day 3: Learning to Navigate Systems

Session Overview

Colleges and Universities operate as systems and it is helpful to understand these systems to successfully navigate them. This round table discussion will feature 3 APIA Scholars as they share their experiences and strategies for advocating for yourself within this larger context.


Shyam Gadwal

Vice President, Programs, APIA Scholars

Shyam is a cultural broker – he lives, navigates, and thrives within the hyphen as an Asian-American. He cherishes his Indian immigrant parents and his sisters for nurturing and interrogating his cultural roots. His ability to find the opportunity from the most ambiguous situations is a result of lessons learned as an educator and entrepreneur. He has spent more than a decade working with students and educators to tap into their best leadership potential. Shyam currently serves as the Vice-President of Programs at APIA Scholars and is honored to work with Scholars across the United States and Pacific Islands to ensure their success as college students and early career professionals.

Evelyn Hoang

Graduate, University of California, Berkeley

Evelyn Hoang recently graduated from UC Berkeley earning a B.A. in English with a Public Policy minor. Her background consists of campaign work, grassroots organizing, and nonprofit management. More specifically, her work is centered on women’s rights, educational equity, and Asian American advocacy. Ultimately, she intends to pursue human rights law and enter the non-profit sector engaging in work that focuses directly on creating equitable justice for all.

Demeturie Toso-Lafaele Gogue

University of California, Los Angeles

Demeturie Toso-Lafaele Gogue, M.Ed., M.A. (he/him/his) is a Pacific Islander (Samoan and Chamorro) doctoral student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change program at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research interests are two-fold: (a) examining the racialized experiences of students of color, specifically Pacific Islander students, on college campuses and (b) exploring institutional approaches to supporting diversity and equity initiatives in higher education settings. Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Demeturie served as a program coordinator within multicultural student affairs. He has also taught courses on leadership development and mentoring strategies for first-generation college student success.

Demeturie earned a Master of Arts in Education from the University of California, Los Angeles; a Master of Education in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration from The University of Vermont; and a Bachelor of Arts in both Sociology and Gender and Women’s Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

Leslie Van

Graduate, Georgetown University

Leslie Van is from Portland, Oregon but has spent the last four years of her life in Washington DC. Leslie just graduated from Georgetown University in May with a degree in Culture and Politics and a concentration in Technology & Access. During her time at Georgetown she was involved in various spaces, from working as a barista to helping operate the world’s largest entirely student-run nonprofit. She is passionate about equity and access in education and diversity & inclusion. This fall she will be working at Deloitte as an analyst within the government and public services sector.