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College of Social Sciences

AANAPISI Initiative

Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution


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 achievement gaps. 

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





Get Involved Today! 

Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPIC) Criminology Peer Mentor 

Join the AAPIC Peer Mentoring Program today.  !!!Paid opportunities listed!!!

Peer Mentors provide one-on-one support to help students who experience challenges, in particular AANAPI students majoring in Criminology. AAPIC Peer Mentors will meet their peer mentee at least bi-weekly to help their mentee learn new skills, navigate around campus, understand college life, overall, support mentee in a holistic approach. AAPIC Peer Mentors act as resources and guides for the peer mentees. 

Mentors will also host meetings, to build community and provide general support. Additionally, they coordinate events,  presentations and community service opportunities. 

Apply to become a Peer Mentor Today! 

Requirement includes:

AAPIC Peer Mentor: (Paid Position)

  • Mentors must be a student majoring or minoring in the Department of Criminology
  • Mentors must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA when applying and during the program
  • Mentors must be enrolled in upper-division (UD) courses
  • Mentors must commit to a year-long role as a peer mentor.
  • Apply here:

Mentee: (non-paid position)

For more information contact: Student Success Coordinator, Lisa Xiong -

Community Leadership Certificate:


  • Culturally responsive services training and focus on understanding experiences of racism and discrimination that contribute to the identity development of Asian Americans. 

For more information contact: 



Work-Based Learning Expereinces: 

Intestested in Intestested in upcoming site-visits?site-visits?: 

  • California Department of Corrections Workshop
  • AANAPISI Court Room Site Visit
  • Valley State Prison Site Visit
  • WBLE/ California Department of Corrections Outreach Program Workshop

Want to attend?

Contact:  Samantha Bautista:

Past site visits:

  • The James Rowland Crime Victim Assistance Center
  • Family Healing Center 
  • Clovis Police department 
  • Fresno County Public Defenders Office 



Meet the Staff


Vice President and Provost



Project Investigator (PI) for the AANAPISI Initiative, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs



Dr. Wei Wu

AANAPISI Co-Pi and Professor and Chair of the Department of Construction Management at Lyles College of Eginnering  

Wei Wu, Ph.D., is a Full Professor and Chair of the Department of Construction Management at Lyles College of Engineering at California State University, Fresno. He received his Bachelor of Engineering in Built Environment and Equipment Engineering from Hunan University in China in 2004, Master of Science in Environmental Change and Management from the University of Oxford in the UK in 2005, and Doctor of Philosophy in Design, Construction, and Planning from the University of Florida in 2010. Dr. Wu's teaching interest includes Construction/Engineering Graphics, Design Visualization, Design-Build Project Delivery, Building Information Modeling (BIM), Advanced Planning and Pre-construction, and Construction Management Senior Capstone. He received the 2018 Teaching Excellence Award of the Associated Schools of Construction (Region 7) and the 2019 Provost Award in Innovation from Fresno State. Dr. Wu's research focuses on BIM, educational technology, extended reality (XR), and construction and engineering education. He has published more than 70 articles and conference proceedings in these areas. Dr. Wu's research has been funded by regional and federal agencies, including National Science Foundation (NSF) grants on XR-enhanced active and authentic learning and faculty professional development for more effective XR integration in STEM teaching and learning.



Christine Thibodeaux






Project Specialist

Christine Thibodeaux is serving as a Fresno State blended program administrative coordinator.
Christine is a graduate of the Craig School of Business with a degree in Business Administration
and Decision Sciences. Christine served in the College of Science and Mathematics (CSM)
dean’s office for 18 years prior to retirement in 2020. Her role in the dean’s office included
oversight of the day-to-day operations, college budget and grants & contracts and college events.
She now works as a project coordinator for federal grants. 





Dr. Jordan Pickering



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. 

559. 278.5712


Samantha Bautista

She/her/hers, AANAPISI Work-Based Learning Experiences Project Coordinator

Samantha is the AANAPISI Work-Based Learning Experiences Project Coordinator. Through this role she hopes to empower Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander (AANAPI) students to broaden their career paths, provide career readiness opportunities, and prepare them for graduation.  She coordinates the Annual Criminology Career Fair for students to network with agencies in Criminology-related fields, especially encourage AANAPI students to attend the event. She also coordinates site visits for students to tour local Criminology- related agencies, Alumni Panel events, and collaborative workshops. Samantha is passionate about serving students and guiding them to reach their full potential despite the barriers they may encounter in higher education. She is empathetic and strives to be a positive role model for all AANAPI students.  

Samantha is a proud 2x Fresno State Alumna with a Bachelor’s in Sociology, minor in Criminology and a Master’s in Counseling, option in Student Affairs & College Counseling. In her free time she loves to be outdoors, spending time with family and friends, and traveling. 



Lisa Xiong




She/her/hers, Student Success Project Coordinator

Lisa Xiong is the AANAPSI Initiative’s Student Success Project Coordinator. She is a proud Hmong Woman, born and raised in Fresno, and is a graduate with a Bachelor’s in Forensic Behavioral Science from Fresno State. She is currently a Master’s student studying Counseling, options in Student Affairs, and College Counseling. 

Through this Student Success Project Coordinator role, she is committed to empowering and advocating, creating platforms to spread AANAPI voices, implementing curriculums, developing cohorts, and directing AANAPI students. She coordinates and develops outreach and workshop plans to share resources and opportunities for AANAPI student success. She also coordinates the Asian American Pacific Islander Criminology (AAPIC) Peer Mentoring Program, implementing and developing interpersonal and professional skills. Lisa is excited to support AAANAPI students with a holistic approach to accomplishing their goals.



 Joseph Escoto

AANAPISI Program Trainer 

Born and raised in Fresno, California, Joseph Escoto graduated High School from Buchann. He has a B.A. in History from Fresno State University, and his focus was world history. Joseph enjoys learning about diverse peoples and their stories. In 2017, Joseph earned a M.S. degree in Counseling opt College Counseling and Student Affairs. Joseph has worked at Fresno State's College of Social Sciences' Advising Center since Spring 2016. His current role with the college is Student Involvement and Success Coordinator. His program COSS Linked Peer Mentor Program was recognized as Club/Organization of the Year 2018/19. Joseph enjoys working with students, helping them reach their goals and maximizing their potential. When not at work, Joseph is a Husband and Father. His wife is a vice principle. His two daughters are the most creative, funny, lights of his life. You can find Joseph at a music festival rocking out to all types of music. Or standing in line for the PlayStation 6 (joking but serious). He is enthused to work with the AANAPISI micro-certificate and train future leaders for the campus and the Central Valley.


Emily Xiong




AANAPISI Working Project Assistant

Major: Forensic Behavior Science