January 08, 2007

We're Number One!

Once again, Caltech is at or near the top of a college ranking.


Namely, the percentage of Asian students amongst top-tier American universities.

Of course, the popular media overlooks us once again and picks UC Berkeley as the more interesting example of the Asian invasion in higher education.

I ask Mr. Hu what it’s like to be on a campus that is overwhelmingly Asian — what it’s like to be of the demographic moment. This fall and last, the number of Asian freshmen at Berkeley has been at a record high, about 46 percent. The overall undergraduate population is 41 percent Asian. On this golden campus, where a creek runs through a redwood grove, there are residence halls with Asian themes; good dim sum is never more than a five-minute walk away; heaping, spicy bowls of pho are served up in the Bear’s Lair cafeteria; and numerous social clubs are linked by common ancestry to countries far across the Pacific.

There may be something to the stereotypes: "About 95 percent of Asian freshmen come from a family in which one or both parents were born outside the United States." Although they do spend way too much time talking about it. At least the article didn't paint all Asians as insular nerds.

As president of the Asian-American Association, he has tried to dispel stereotypes of “the Dragon Lady seductress or the idea that everybody plays the piano.” His closest friends are in the club. It may seem that he has become more insular, that he has found his tribe. But Mr. Lee says he has been trying to lead other Asian students out of the university bubble. Once a week, they go into a mostly black and Hispanic middle school in the Bay Area to mentor students... It came about because Mr. Lee looked around at the new America — in California, the first state with no racial majority — and found that it looked very different from Berkeley. And much as he loves Berkeley, he knew that if he wanted to learn enough to teach, he needed to get off campus.

Posted by mikewang on 12:03 AM