Thank you for your continued participation and support!
Read on for college advice, study updates, and more...
We Appreciate your Support & Participation!

ML-SAAF strives to improve the everyday lives of Asian-Americans by discovering more about bicultural identity and parent-child relationships. We sincerely appreciate your eager help and support in this unprecedented study -- none of this would have been possible without you! As Wave 2 draws to a close and Wave 3 begins anew, we ask for your continued participation in the project. Wave 3 focuses solely on our youth participants, so we look forward to hearing back from you! Parents, thank you so much again for your support thus far. Look towards the end of the newsletter for some study updates!

Thank you again, and enjoy this newsletter!

Warm regards,

Spring is Finally Here!

Spring has officially begun from March 20th! The ML-SAAF team is starting to enjoy the warmer breezes in Hyde Park, even if it still is a little bit chilly. How's the weather in your area? Are you looking forward to summer? Do you prefer the hot or the cold?

Spring brings so many new possibilities to light: picnics, leisurely walks in the sunshine, children squealing in the park, and gorgeous flowers and  succulent fruits now in season! You'll soon be seeing fragrant magnolias, daffodils, lilacs, peonies, and hyacinths. Also look out for stone fruits like apricots, nectarines, peaches, and plums, as well as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and cherries. If you enjoy baking, check out  Peach BuckleApricot-Blueberry Cobbler, or  Chocolate-Berry Ice Cream Cake and make good use of those seasonal fruits while they last!

But one more thing that comes with spring for graduating high school seniors is the weighty choice of where to spend the next four years of their lives. Now that the stress of college admissions has passed and the highs and lows of acceptances and rejections have settled, it's time for the final choice. College decisions may seem intimidating, and you might be feeling overwhelmed by all the factors that you need to consider, especially if you have a few potential options that you need to choose from. However, keep in mind that you were accepted for a reason! The college thinks that you'll be a good fit; now, it's up to you to decide whether you agree. Take a look at the checklist below for a baseline of criteria you may wish to ruminate on. It's also a great idea to consult family and friends as well, especially if you know someone who attends or has attended a college on your list. Be open-minded throughout your decision making process. Good luck and have fun!

Making the Big College Decision

One thing to remember as you're deciding on where to go for college (or, if you're not a senior yet, beginning to think about where you see yourself in a few years) is that college isn't just a place where you're going to study for 4 years -- it's where you're going to live. Yes, it's important to think about majors and minors, academic programs and fellowships, and potential career pathways after college, but there are so many more aspects just as important, if not more, that you also need to consider. Will you be happy? Does the school's atmosphere appeal to you? Do you think you'll connect well with the rest of the student body? Do you like cities? Towns? What balance of work and play suits you best? Do you have any special musical or sports interests? There's so much to think about! Start with this list:
  • Each school usually has something unique to it. Think about the distinctive aspects of the colleges you're considering, like quirky traditions, a core curriculum, or special research centers and facilities. Does anything in particular call out to you?
  • Does the college offer a special program or track that you're interested in?
  • Did you visit the campus? Have you had a chance to interact with students at the college? What's your "gut feeling"? How's the atmosphere of the school?
  • Do you enjoy the size and layout of the campus? Remember: you'll be traversing all over!
  • How are the school's demographics? Does the campus seem diverse? Would you feel comfortable here?
  • What kind of college setting would you prefer? Towns? Cities?
  • How are the dining options, especially if you have dietary restrictions?
  • How are the professors? The class sizes? Do you think you'll be able to learn and mature as a thinker here?
  • Does the school have majors that you might potentially be interested in? It's quite common for college students to change their major, so be sure that there are a few majors that you can see yourself studying.
  • Cost or financial aid opportunities?
  • How are the internship and career services?
  • What are the housing options? Are you guaranteed 4 years of housing if you so desire? Does the school's housing system appeal to you?
  • Does the college offer a wide range of extra-curricular organizations and clubs that you're interested in? Is there something new that you see yourself trying?
  • If you're looking forward to study abroad opportunities to widen your horizons, does the school have an adequate program?
  • Is there someone with direct experience who you can direct further questions to? Reach out! You might be surprised.
If You're Already a College Student...
Ways to Destress!

With spring comes the promise of summer, but there's one more hurdle before that: finals! Here are some ways you can destress if you're finding the busy schedule of college getting to you!
  1. Go out and have some fun! If you're looking for delicious but affordable places to eat around the Chicago area, look no further than here. Spoon University is your friend.
  2. Listen to music or dance! 
  3. Call your parents or a friend from back home. It might cheer you up to hear a familiar, loved voice.
  4. Go take a nice walk or hit the gym. Get moving, and your mood will improve!
  5. Relax by watching a movie you've been waiting for or catching up on an episode of your favorite TV show. Caution -- don't get carried away and binge-watch Netflix!
  6. Laugh! Get someone to tell you a funny joke or read a humorous book. You can also just start laughing -- it'll make you happier.
  7. Do you like cooking? Baking? Arts and crafts? Making something and, even better, sharing it with someone might make you feel much better.
  8. Get away from the screen and long hours at the library. Give your eyes and mind a break.
  9. Organize yourself. Make a to-do list, update your calendar, or clean your room!
  10. Go out and explore! Whether it's to a nearby field where you can see the stars or the hustle bustle of the city, take some time off to see new things.

Meet Michelle Shim!

Michelle is currently the youngest member of the ML-SAAF team and a first-year undergraduate student at the University of Chicago. She joined us as a research assistant as soon as she moved to Chicago to begin her college career in September of 2016. Born in Seoul, South Korea, and having grown up in a wide range of places such as the United Kingdom, California, New Jersey, and Georgia, she hopes to incorporate her international mindset and broad understanding of various cultures with her education at the University of Chicago and her work at the School of Social Service Administration (SSA). Below, she answers a few questions about herself.

Q: Tell us a little bit more about yourself. Who are you? What are your hobbies and interests?

A: Let me give you a quick recap of my life! I was born in Seoul, South Korea, moved to California when I was one, moved to New Jersey, moved back to Korea for 1st and 2nd grade, moved to the UK from 3rd grade to 7th grade, moved back to New Jersey until freshman year of high school, moved back to Korea for Sophomore year, moved to Atlanta, Georgia for Junior and Senior year, and now I'm finally in Chicago. I've attended 13 schools during this turbulent but exciting lifestyle, and UChicago is officially my 14th school.

The wide variety of places I've lived in and institutions I've attended has given me a distinctive opportunity to explore my interests through a colorful range of experiences. For instance, I've spent time at the Academy of Business and Finance at the Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, New Jersey, worked as a research intern at a biology lab at Georgia Tech, spent summers at a law firm as well as at a local business, and have even been a translator for foreign visitors during my time in Korea at Boehringer Ingelheim, an international pharmaceutical company. Also, especially due to my childhood growing up in England, the cradle of literature, I'm a lover of reading and writing. Some other hobbies include sports, such as track, lacrosse, and figure skating, as well as baking (I'm a foodie!) and exploring the city. I truly do appreciate my international lifestyle and the great experiences I've had due to it. I even created my own website on the democratic architecture of the various places I've visited or lived in! It can be found at However, moving around so much definitely brought some challenges in adjusting to new environments, making new friends every year or two, and adapting to different cultures. Still, in the end, it all paid off!

Q: How did you get involved with ML-SAAF at the SSA? What do you do?

A: I got involved with ML-SAAF because the team was looking for someone interested in Asian-American bicultural identity and issues within the community. I think the fact that I'm bilingual also helped! I'm still overjoyed by the fact that I work with such a wonderful, cohesive team, and that I get to contribute to and interact with the wider Asian-American community in the Midwest. As a research assistant, I help with a wide variety of tasks such as content creation, translation, data input, communication with study participants, and outreach!

Q: How are you enjoying the University of Chicago? What fields interest you? What other activities are you involved in at the College?

A: UChicago is great! Lovely people, amazingly influential professors of the intellectual world, a beautiful campus, the perfect atmosphere (when the weather permits it, of course), rigorous academics balanced with a great social side... I definitely made the right choice for me in coming here. A wide variety of majors is calling to me, such as  Economics, International Studies, English, and even Political Science. I'm having a hard time deciding because there are so many different options available here. I think I was more sure of what I wanted to study before coming to UChicago. I guess it's good that I'm still a first year and have more time to fully explore my options! That's my motto -- settle in, but never settle.

Outside of my work with ML-SAAF, I'm also deeply involved with the Institute of Politics (IOP) at the university, especially with the Fellows Program. Through this program, leading political practitioners such as former elected officials, campaign strategists, activists, political journalists, and pollsters bring their expertise, experiences, research, and professional networks to offer insightful and unique perspectives on politics and policy in America and abroad. Through seminars, guest speakers, office hours, and more, these Fellows contribute so much to the political scene at the University of Chicago. During fall quarter, I was a part of a Fellows Ambassador team, connecting my Fellow with the student community and facilitating his seminars, events, interviews, and office hours. This spring quarter, I'm a Fellows Ambassador team leader! I'm also involved with Moot Court, a mock court debate-style activity where we argue cases of constitutional law, as well as intramural sports.

Q: What are your career goals?

A: I'm still not so sure, and I think it's good to keep your options open and to not restrict yourself to a set path before you've done substantial exploring. As of now, I'm thinking of potentially attending law school after my undergraduate years to become an international lawyer or even an ambassador! Some other possibilities are consulting, where I'll be able to work creatively on a diverse assortment of projects, as well as in public policy and politics. This summer, I'll be heading off to New York for an internship with TurboVote at Democracy Works, a nonprofit organization that strives to increase voter turnout at all levels of the democratic process. In the future, I hope to work towards increasing participation of the Asian-American community in elections. The power and influence that we can hold and the changes we can consequently bring if we politically mobilize as voters and participants of our nation's democracy are, I think, untapped potential.

Q: Do you have advice for high school students making their college decisions or those who will soon begin the application process?

A: I think the most important thing is to avoid being too stressed -- I know how hard this is, having gone through the process myself. But, looking back, it was all going to work out in the end. There definitely has to be a lot of initiative, work, research, and effort on your end to apply to schools and eventually decide on one. But once you get there, odds are, whatever choice you make will be the right choice because you'll make it right! Wherever you go, whatever you do, make sure to enjoy yourself and stretch your mind academically, culturally, and socially. Find a great community of both like-minded and different-minded people, step outside of your comfort zone, commit to trying new things, and explore, explore, explore! Best of luck to you.

Q: Any final words to our youth participants?

A: Thank you again for your consistent participation; the ML-SAAF team truly appreciates each and every one of you! Parents, thank you so much for all you've done. Youth participants: Wave 3 is now all about you! Make sure to stay updated on dates and deadlines, and take advantage of amazing gift card opportunities.

Michelle can be reached at

Have you visited our website yet?

Curious about current events in the Asian-American community? Want more study updates? Looking for book recommendations about Asian-American identity? Want to take a look at our blog about Asian-American issues affecting us today? 

We highly encourage you to visit us at! We have lots of information just for you about the study and its aims as well as about our research staff. We also offer a compilation of all past newsletters, interesting publications about Asian-Americans, a blog detailing current news events in the Asian-American community, and much more! Here's a snapshot of the website.

Study Updates

All the surveys are in! Thank you again, and expect to receive more data results in the coming months both on the website as well as in future newsletters. After around 8~9 months of ceaseless efforts by our research team, we've reached an overall retention rate of 78% for Wave 2, including 76% for Filipino parents, 76% for Filipino youth, 79% for Korean parents, and 81% for Korean youth. We plan to begin Wave 3, which will focus solely on our youth participants, at the start of 2018. ML-SAAF looks forward to continue updating you, so stay tuned!