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Statistics show that 33 percent of undergraduate students at UC Davis in the fall 2017 semester were considered Asian or Pacific Islander.

Many students who fall in that category believe it's deeper than that.

"My people are resilient, creative, and brilliant at what we do," Katherine Nasol said. "I just love the warmth of my community."

Nasol is an incoming cultural studies PhD student. She is also a proud first-generation Filipina-American, which is why she is so honored to help launch the start of a UC-wide Filipino-American studies program and a center at her campus in Davis. It will be called the Bulosan Center.

"Much, if not all, of our funding has been through grassroots fundraising from and with our community," said Nasol. "Through the generous donations of non-profits, loved ones, and Filipino-owned small businesses...we've been able to garner the resources to fulfill [the] center."

Nasol's parents met while working in Kuwait and eventually moved to the United States, becoming two of the thousands of Filipino citizens who leave the island every day. Nasol was born here.

"There is a critical mass of Filipino students here at UC Davis," Nasol said. "And across the country [that are] craving a center [for Filipino Studies]."

Nasol is working under Dr. Robyn Rodriguez, the Department Chair of Asian-American Studies at UC Davis. Nasol credits Dr. Rodriguez for opening the center, the first of its kind in the country.

Nasol said there are three goals with opening the center: Research with and for the Filipino community, implementing an education curriculum for students as young as Kindergarten, and advocacy for change.

"We're envisioning the center to be a part of our Asian-American studies department [and] be a space where we can have an undergrad and grad research conference every year," Nasol said.

The launch is Saturday, Sept. 29, and will include a symposium from 11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. A benefit dinner starts at 6 p.m.

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