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College of Social Sciences

AANAPISI Initiative

Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution



                                              Diversity Ceremony


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


Meet the Staff


Vice President and Provost



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



Dr. Yoshiko Takahashi

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 Affairs.

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. 




Dr. Swami Shruti






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.



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



Dr. Peter English





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.



Gaonoucci Belle Vang




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 and check out her other public pages at




Samantha Bautista




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.




Summer Her




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.