Humans of Khmer America

Elizabeth Pring

My name is Elizabeth Pring (@elizabethpringles). I’m currently a junior at the University of Washington studying Political Science and Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies. I am the ASUW Women’s Action Commission Director, a dancer for KhSA (Khmer Student Association at UW), fellow for the C21 fellowship of the College of Arts, appointee to the Provost Advisory Committee, and a mentor for UW Leaders.

My parents immigrated from Cambodia to the U.S. in the late 70s. Due to the trauma that my parents experienced in their past, they didn’t delve intensively into their life in Cambodia. And so, I’m on a continuing journey to define my Khmer American identity because of the imbalanced relationship I had with my culture growing up.

The UW Khmer Student Association (KhSA) has been a great avenue to discover my socio-cultural Identity. I have found a community of other Khmer-identifying people as well as delving into traditional Apsara dancing. This summer, I will be studying abroad in Cambodia through the School of Social Work program, “After the Genocide – Partners for Change”

My Khmer role model is my mom! Growing up, I finally realized the beautiful resilience and strength she had supporting 5 children and working a labor-intensive job. My life has molded positively because of her presence and perseverance. As a child, she emphasized being a good person and being the change that I wanted to see in the world.

As ASUW’s Women’s Action Commission (WAC) Director, I’ve been fortunate to be in a position where I am able to showcase and promote different stories and voices to a large audience. March is Women’s History Month and the WAC has organized a media campaign with an empowering quote of the day and small workshops on topics varying from women in leadership to the intersectionality of feminism.

In the next decade, I would like to work in either litigation or public policy merging my love for policy and culture to create social change. I would love to live in a city on the West coast- happy, healthy, and surrounded by an amazing support system of friends and family.

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