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College of Social Sciences
Fresno State has received a $1.25 million federal grant to support Asian American
and Native American Pacific Islander students interested in criminology and forensic behavioral sciences.
This is the first time the University has received a grant from the U.S. Department
of Education’s Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution
(AANAPISI) Program since Fresno State was designated an AANAPISI.
“This grant-funded program reflects the campus commitment to Asian American and Native
American Pacific Islander students, providing a welcoming campus experience and preparing
them for professional careers,” said Dr. Yoshiko Takahashi, professor of criminology
and interim associate dean of the College of Social Sciences at Fresno State. “Earning
a bachelor’s degree expands opportunities, enhances earning potential and increases
social mobility, all of which contribute to making our region thrive.”
The five-year grant aims to expand the University’s capacity to serve students of
Asian and Pacific Islander ethnicity in undergraduate criminology and forensic behavioral
sciences majors, and to support their careers in criminal justice and victim assistance.
Takahashi will serve as principal investigator with Dr. Xuanning Fu, Fresno State’s
interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.
Criminology is the largest major at Fresno State with 1,846 undergraduate students
enrolled, but it has the lowest representation of Asian American and Pacific Islander
students among all large majors. The University has nearly 25,000 students total and
about 3,100 identify as Asian American and Pacific Islander, according to fall 2021
enrollment data from the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.
The long-established programs in the Department of Criminology provide quality education
for students planning professional and academic careers in the criminal and civil
justice fields, including direct service and administration in corrections, forensic
behavioral sciences, law enforcement and victimology.
The core components of the proposed program supported by the grant are to develop
and implement work-based learning experiences, an Asian American Pacific Islander
peer mentoring program and community outreach, culturally responsive services training
and professional writing in criminal justice. The program will also work to increase
enrollment, retention and the six-year graduation rate of Asian American and Pacific
Islander criminology and forensic behavioral science students, which aligns with the
California State University’s Graduation Initiative 2025 to increase graduation rates for all CSU students while eliminating opportunity and
The project will also develop work-based learning experiences for freshmen, sophomores
and juniors, sequencing the experience so criminology majors stay connected to career
sites from entry to exit.
The grant also aims to enhance and improve outreach efforts in the greater Fresno
area, and will attract more Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander students
to pursue criminal justice careers and to better serve the diverse communities in
the Central Valley.
By BoNhia Lee|November 9th, 2021
Project Investigator (PI) for the AANAPISI Initiative, Provost and Vice President
for Academic Affairs
Co-PI for the AANAPISI Initiative, Interim Associate Dean College of Social Sciences,
Professor of Criminology
Dr. Yoshiko Takahashi earned her Ph.D. in public policy from the University of North
Carolina at Charlotte and joined the faculty in the Department of Criminology at Fresno
State in 2008. Since August 2019, Dr. Takahashi has been serving as interim associate
dean for the College of Social Sciences. She was also appointed as the interim director
of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE) at the same institution. For this
AANAPISI grant, Dr. Takahashi has been leading the grant project as co-principal investigator
with Dr. Xuanning Fu, Fresno State’s interim provost and vice president for Academic
Throughout her academic career, Dr. Takahashi’s work has centered on student success
and equity issues in criminal justice. As a criminology faculty for more than 10 years,
she advised students on their career options and internship placement and connected
them to campus and community resources. Her scholarly work highlights the disproportionate
contact of minorities in the criminal justice system and the lack of resources for
minority crime victims, particularly Asian Americans. Her recent publication, Victims Behind the Model Minority Myth: Are Asian Americans Model Victims? discussed how Asian Americans have been marginalized in the criminal justice system.
The model minority stereotype has undermined the needs of Asian American victims
and offenders in the United States. She also published a book, Victimology and Victim Assistance: Advocacy, Intervention, and Restoration, through Sage with her colleague, Dr. Chadley James. She hopes that this grant will
bring more diverse professionals into the criminal and civil justice systems.
AANAPISI Program Trainer and Assistant Professor
Dr. Sruthi Swami is an Assistant Professor in the School Psychology specialist (Ed.S.)
program at Fresno State. She received her degree in Counseling, Clinical, and School
Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research, clinical
work, and teaching, focuses on promoting equity for youths and families from marginalized
backgrounds, with a particular emphasis on social justice and dismantling racism and
discrimination within K-12 school systems. Dr. Swami also engages in research related
to the mental health and wellbeing of Asian and Asian American individuals, with a
focus on understanding experiences of racism and discrimination that contribute to
the identity development of Asian Americans. As such, she is very excited to serve
as a faculty trainer for the AANAPISI Grant at Fresno State where she will be working
to develop a safe space on campus and a mini-certificate program for students who
are interested in entering various professions within the field of criminology.
Course Developer for the AANAPISI, Assistant Professor and, Graduate Program Coordinator
for the Law Enforcement Option
Dr. Jordan Pickering is an Assistant Professor and the graduate coordinator in the
Department of Criminology at Fresno State. Her areas of research specialization include
police-community relations, police use of force, law enforcement training, and qualitative
research methods are some of the things that led her to the Criminology program at
Fresno State. In addition to her research, Dr. Pickering was drawn to the Criminology
department because of their commitment to collaboration with local criminal justice
agencies and the ability to make a difference through her research and teaching.
As a graduate of Fresno State's Writing Across the Curriculum program (WAC), Dr. Pickering
was excited to join the AANAPISI grant to assist with the creation and implementation
of a professional development course that emphasizes writing and communication across
criminal justice occupations. Written and verbal communication skills are important
qualifications for many jobs within the criminal justice system and CRIM 136T course
is designed to help students develop these skills while also learning about various
occupations in law enforcement, the legal system, corrections, and victim services.
Dr. Pickering is grateful to be a part of the AANAPISI project and looks forward to
helping students prepare themselves for the job market.
Associate Professor and Criminology Chair
Dr. English is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Criminology at
Fresno State. He has taught courses such as The Psychology of Criminality, Principles
and Applications of Forensic Behavioral Sciences, and Ethics in Forensic Behavioral
Sciences. Dr. English graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in psychology
and is by training a forensic cognitive psychologist with an emphasis on perception
and memory. His research interests are eyewitness identification, the adjudication
of mentally ill offenders, and forensic assessment of various clinical populations.
Dr. Peter has consulted in over 50 criminal cases and has testified as an expert witness
on memory and eyewitness identification in about two dozen trials. He co-authored
the book More Than the Law: Behavioral and Social Facts in Legal Decision Making (2005) with Bruce D. Sales, Ph.D., JD, published by the American Psychological Association.
He worked at NASA- Ames Research Center at Moffett Field Naval Air Station in the
Office of Space Human Factors and the Perception and Cognition Lab and is a member
of the American Psychological Association, American Psychology-Law Society, and the
Association for Psychological Science.
Dr. Peter was drawn to the AANAPISI grant partly by his position as Chair of the Criminology
Department. In this capacity, he is dedicated to diversifying our student population
so that they may assume the many critically important positions throughout the civil
and criminal justice systems. But he is also motivated by the harmful effects of the
not-so-subtle biases and prejudices that he sees directed toward Asian American/Pacific
Islander members of his own family. Dr. English looks forward to working with this
special team of dedicated professionals and students to make our project a success
and a model for future diversity and retention efforts.
She/her/hers, Student Success Project Coordinator
Belle is the AANAPISI Initiative’s Student Success Project Coordinator. She is a
proud Fresno native and Fresno State alumna eager to serve the Asian American and
Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (NHPI) communities. She graduated with two bachelor’s
in Marketing and Public Relations, and three minors in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality
Studies, Philanthropic and Community-based Leadership, and Asian American Studies.
As a first-generation, Southeast Asian American scholar, Belle has first-hand experience
in the complexities such as imposter syndrome and of navigating higher education through
a cross-cultural lens.
Strongly connected to her community, Belle plans to pursue a doctorate in Ethnic Studies
to research the Southeast Asian American (SEAA) communities and show students in the
Central Valley that anything is possible with the community’s support. Belle considers
herself as a cultural advocate, intersectional feminist and a social justice activist.
As a cultural advocate, she works with a local CBO, A Hopeful Encounter, Inc. to uplift
youth in their journey of self-exploration, cultural cultivation, and community land
usage. As an intersectional feminist, she serves Central California Asian Pacific
Women (CCAPW) as the Board Secretary and scholarship committee chair to empower Asian
American and NHPI women from the Central Valley. As a social justice activist and
as a member of the Fresno Asian American Collaborative, she moves to make changes
with various grassroots and local CBOs as a member of the Fresno Asian American Collaborative.
Get connected with Belle and email her at email@example.com and check out her
other public pages at linktr.ee/hmoobelle.
She/her/hers, AANAPISI Work-Based Learning Experiences Project Coordinator
Samantha is a first-generation graduate student currently pursuing her masters' degree
in Counseling-Student Affairs and College Counseling at Fresno State. Samantha serves
as the AANAPISI Work-Based Learning Experiences (WBLE) Project Coordinator. Through
her role as the WBLE Project Coordinator, she hopes to empower Asian American, Native
American, and Pacific Islander (AANAPI) students to broaden their career paths, provide
career readiness opportunities, and prepare students for graduation throughout their
time at Fresno State so they feel better prepared when they graduate.
This year, Samantha coordinated the Annual Criminology Career Fair for students to
network with agencies in Criminology-related fields and especially encourage AANAPI
students to attend the March event. Samantha is passionate about serving students
and guiding them to reach their full potential despite the barriers they may encounter
in higher education. Samantha is empathetic and strives to be a positive role model
for all AANAPI students.
Work Based Learning Experience Project Coordinator
Summer received her bachelor’s in Psychology, a minor in Criminology, and a Victim
Services certificate from Fresno State. She obtained her master’s in clinical counseling
from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University,
Fresno where she is currently pursuing her doctorate in the Clinical Psychology (PsyD)
program. Her current research and interests focus on domestic violence and healthy
relationships, patriarchal beliefs, and mental health literacy in the Hmong community.
Summer is passionate about helping underserved communities and supporting Asian American
Pacific Islander (AAPI) students be successful in their academic journey. She first
became interested in the AANAPISI project because she wanted to help bridge the gap
between the professional workforce and AAPI individuals. As the Work-Based Learning
Experiences Coordinator, she is looking forward to helping students pursue their career
interests by connecting them to real-life careers. Summer is very excited to be a
part of this project to help strengthen students’ academic quality and to increase
diversity in the criminal justice field.