Miki was introduced to the project early in her freshman year, when OMI was still known as The Gail Project, and while she was still working as a student curator of the Sesnon Art Gallery; at the time, the gallery was hosting “The Gail Project: an Okinawan-American Dialogue,” the project’s first exhibition. Since then, she has traveled with the team over two summers (Okinawa 2018 and 2019), mainly working with the Exhibitions team, but progressively getting more involved in Oral History, Art-making, and Independent Research teams. As OMI’s CUIP throughout the COVID pandemic, Miki has made establishing stronger internal communications her #1 priority. Through facilitating remote operations, coordinating meetings and schedules in ways that broaden access to students, and regularly checking in with OMI’s student teams, Miki has left her mark as a catalyst of communications during an era of isolation.
I’ve worn many hats while working with OMI! As a CUIP intern I helped organize and arrange the various exhibits of the Gail Photos, as well as coordinated student teams. As a Media Production Head, I helped conduct and plan several oral history interviews and wrote scripts for podcast and video production. My favourite job within OMI was definitely my role in helping coordinate the yearly summer trips, especially with a tight deadline! Now a grad student at UCSB and a member of the OMI Director’s Board, my current dissertation topic is about the tourist industry in Okinawa intersecting with indigenous issues and interests upon the island, and my primary focus within the project is guiding current undergraduate students academically.
I am the media team lead. This past year I focused on getting students training and experience on how to use different softwares. I am also finishing up a script for a video we have been working on about the historical Abuchiragama site. I am currently planning on pursuing film in the future after I graduate, and I have been planning a documentary that will be filming in the summer about the archaeology curation crisis.
Hi, my name is Alyssa. I have had an interest in Japanese language and culture since I took classes in high school, and decided to pursue my study at CSU Monterey Bay. I was introduced to OMI through one of my professors, Dr. Dustin Wright, and am now working with the timeline team and Japanese translation team. I’m currently in my last semester of school and will be graduating Spring 2021.
As a member of the oral history team I conducted interviews with Tosh Tanaka and Dr. Alan Christy on the history and origins of O.M.I., and helped to write and edit the websites timeline of the project. Academically I’m interested in cultural anthropology, history, art, photography, and journalism. I’m currently on track to graduate this year and looking for opportunities to combine my diverse interests professionally. I hope to continue to be a part of the project as an alumni and stay in touch with the wonderful people I’ve worked with!
Zanasia was part of the exhibition team and the Japanese translation team in OMI. The following projects list her contributions to OMI: mission statement curation, brochure design, and exhibition creation tasks. Her academic interests lie in the multicultural diaspora, children of war, and international politics relating to dual-citizenship identities. Currently, she is interested in social media coverage of social complexities in Japan: disable, hafu, homelessness, work culture, and hikikomori. One day she plans to open an international school where all walks of life can discover the meaning of a global citizen.
Undergraduate Art Student
Heya! My name is Jared Guzman and I’m an artist recently graduated from UCSC. I aim to make Art from thoughtful observation and inclusion of the audience. If you’re interested in my work, check out my website!
Hi! I’m Katie and I’ve been involved with OMI’s Media and Exhibition teams, as well as participating in OMI’s collaboration with the OAA to digitize archives. I’m still an undergrad focusing on European and Middle Eastern history and anthropology (especially archeology).
I am a third year history and anthropology double major with an interest in pursuing public history or museum work. Currently I lead the exhibition assessment team and am also involved with the events and archives team.
Now I’m still involved in OMI, as a graduate student I’m the policy team lead and work in curriculum development. As an undergraduate I was the CUIP for 2016-2017, was the student coordinator for the Sesnon exhibit in 2017, ran social media from 2015-2017, and served on the editorial board from 2014 until I graduated, putting out an article to our Medium.com page in 2017. I also presented the Gail Project at the undergraduate research session at the American Historical Association Annual Conference in 2018.
I am the team leader of the OMI History Timeline Team, which also functions as the Oral History Team. I joined OMI during my freshman year and participate in all the different teams OMI has. While I study the history of Europe and the Mediterranean world for my degree, I have had a love for Japanese history ever since I took Japanese language courses in high school. OMI has been the perfect opportunity to explore Japanese history outside of the classroom. OMI allows me to study history and learn skills that I do not get from regular history courses, such as conducting interviews and video editing.
As the project CUIP in 2018-2019, I helped formalize leadership structures and cement working teams within the Initiative. Additionally, I facilitated OMI’s collaboration with outside universities and community organizations both in California and in Okinawa. Since then, I’ve remained an active part of the Initiative’s leadership, and currently serve as a leader building collaborative projects between OMI and the Okinawa Association of America.
Minor member, interested in folk/oral history
Drew Richardson (he/him) is a PhD candidate in the Department of History. His dissertation project examines media and place-making practices in native Japanese ethnography, folklore, and monsters. A glimpse of his project is forthcoming this month in an article titled “Pokemon, Yo-Kai Watch, Yuru Kyara: Economies of Friendship and Ethnography at Play,” published by Ritsumeikan University in the journal of Replaying Japan. He is currently living in Yokohama and is a visiting fellow for the 2020-2021 academic year at Kokugakuin University. His interest in Okinawa stems from his study of Japanese folklorists, who viewed Okinawa as both distinct from Japan and as a storehouse of ancient Japanese custom. When he’s not working on his dissertation, he likes to visit cat cafes and read hard-boiled detective fiction.
I became a history major because I’m fascinated in what we can learn about culture from analyzing recordings and objects of various types. While I do my own research on certain topics for fun, OMI has helped me grow my oral history and archival skills. I’ve been conducting research on OMI’s history through interviewing members and reading old files.
Meleia Simon-Reynolds is a third-year PhD student in History with a designated emphasis in Visual Studies. Her dissertation research focuses on transpacific Filipinx immigration to the West Coast and Hawai’i during the early 20th century. She is interested in examining photographs of Filipinx laborers, their communities, and their daily lives in order to understand how the camera was used as a tool of discipline and domination when in the hands of colonial officials whereas Filipinx folks used it as a tool of resistance and built alternative photographic archives. Meleia is passionate about pedagogy and curriculum design. She is the co-director of curriculum development for OMI—recently working alongside Lex McClellan and Drew Richardson to design and facilitate History and Memory in the Okinawan Islands. In addition to her work with OMI, she is a graduate student lead for oral history and educational resource design with the local public history project, Watsonville is in the Heart, which is dedicated to collecting and documenting the stories of Watsonville’s Filipinx community.
I am a wildcard when it comes to work I have done with OMI, I try to help out where it is needed, from helping out during events like Giving Day to managing social media engagement. I am particularly interested in social movements of East Asia and how it shapes not only those communities on a local scale but also in an international perspective. Currently, I am interning at the Chinese Historical Society of America in San Francisco Chinatown where I digitize exhibits, do interview transcripts, and moderate community events on facilitating discussion about the Chinese American and Asian American narrative in history and in our society. I find it fulfilling to be able to give back to the community by working with like-minded people in promoting and having an open dialogue about Asian American experiences in the United States.
I’m OMI’s Event Coordinator, so I work with the Events Team to come up with public programs that relate to Okinawan History and the OMI project. I am interested in film, digital media, and the History of Consciousness program at UCSC. I also work in museums and galleries, including the Sesnon Gallery and the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.
Hello! My name is Alyssa and I am a current 3rd year human biology major at UCSC that is a part of the exhibition and archival teams in OMI. Being a part of OMI has been such a great learning experience and I have to thank everyone for being so welcoming! Getting the chance to further understand the collaborative Okinawan narrative has been truly eye opening, and I am looking forward to continuing this learning process. I am currently studying remotely, but when I do have free time, I enjoy drawing and pretty much anything related to art!
Tifa is currently the head of the Communications Team and has been active in many other work teams as well in the past, such as the Exhibition, Oral History, and Media Production Teams. Introduced to OMI in 2018, Tifa has continued to utilize artistic and media skills in order to help OMI produce content on their social media platforms. After going on the 2019 summer trip to Okinawa, Tifa’s plans are to continue researching and learning about Japanese culture by living abroad.
Wyatt Young is a PhD candidate in History whose dissertation focuses upon U.S. colonialism and imperialism in the Philippines, museum studies, and the diasporic genealogy of Filipiniana collections. Alongside his role managing the collections of OMI, Wyatt has worked in collections management and curation for several years at the University of California at Santa Barbara, the Grateful Dead Archives at UCSC, and he is currently the Archives and Library Coordinator for the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.
When I was an active member of OMI, I was the head of the social media and outreach team. I also co-led the Giving Day team in 2018 and 2019! During our trips to Okinawa, I helped coordinate airfare and lodging and focused on outreach and creating content for our social media platforms. I graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2019. I am currently a first-year student in a Masters of Counseling program at Palo Alto University, where I am pursuing a degree in Marriage, Family and Child counseling. When I graduate, I hope to become a licensed marriage and family therapist and continue working within the Bay Area.
I was part of the research team for OMI, spending many days in the prefectural archives on the two trips I went to Okinawa with the team. I was interested in Christianity in the Ryukyus. I now work in advertisement.
OMI is a collaboration between UCSC, The Humanities Institute, CSU Monterey Bay, CSU East Bay, and the University of the Ryukyus.
The World in an Island. The Okinawa Memories Initiative is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
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