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Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Dean's Message - May 17, 2021

Monday, May 17, 2021
Dean Jay shares reflections on Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month.
Jaharis Building in the spring

Dear GSBS Community,

May is Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month, a time in which to pay tribute to the generations of individuals with this background who enrich America’s history. I am one of those individuals. I grew up in a working-class family who suffered from Canada’s Chinese Exclusion Act. As a result, my parents did not receive educational opportunities and were forced to work menial jobs to support me and my siblings. I am a first-generation college graduate, although I did have older siblings and cousins as role models. 

I came to science through reading comic books, and was fortunate enough to find mentors who encouraged me. Through talent, determination and hard work, I was able to complete a PhD and find an academic job, a privilege I accepted gladly. I was one of few Asian faculty, but at the beginning of my career did not think about academia’s roots in traditions created by and for white Europeans. 

As a professor, and now as Dean, I work to change this system. I encourage you all to continue the important work of building a more inclusive academy.

Dan Jay, Dean