Carnegie Mellon University

Ryan Rusali

May 04, 2021

CEE Spotlight: Ryan Rusali

By CEE DEI Committee

The month of May is dedicated nationwide to Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders and celebrates AAPI history and achievements

CEE senior Ryan Rusali grew up in the Bay Area located in Northern California, where the tech boom has created a quite homogenous society, which can be best described as an amalgamation of different Asian cultures. Ryan’s grandparents and parents took time to immerse him in Vietnamese culture with food, language, and traditions, but he did not fully appreciate it until now.

When Ryan came to CMU, he found himself in a cultural hodgepodge where he quickly learned about the different experiences of his fellow students. “Coming to college, I realized that not a lot of people had the same experience [with identity] as I did.” He saw that some students’ identities had prevented them from some opportunities, which made it difficult for them to celebrate their identities. The importance of not only understanding, but also celebrating diversity and what it offers is now a personal responsibility for Ryan. “I can’t wait for someone else to fix problems [surrounding equity and inclusion], I need to know that I am doing all I can to promote these qualities.” 

“I have become really proud about my identity and my culture and interested to learn more about my own history and culture,” Ryan says. Ryan cites his grandmother as his favorite historical figure and hopes to learn as much as he can from her. “The progression of the understanding of my identity has gone from being pretty negative to neutral to positive. I’m really happy to be Asian American now.”