My name is Monique Sooaemalelagi, and I would love for everyone to call me “Neeky.” I am currently a junior, studying Communications at Washington State University, Pullman. I am originally from American Samoa, an island and a U.S territory, located at the heart of the South Pacific. Although I am an ocean away from my homeland and culture, I still find ways to express and embrace my culture to everyone around me. At the start of my freshman year, I joined WSU’s Pacific Islanders Club (PIC) and eventually became a Co-Exhibition chair my Sophomore year. During every Dad’s weekend at WSU, I dance in every Pacific cultural dances as part of PIC to embrace the unique talents and cultures found in the Polynesian region.
Another way of embracing my culture at WSU was being a mentor at the Multicultural Student Services. This was an opportunity for me to share my culture to my mentees, who were considered International students, and Asian/Pacific islanders. During our mentor-mentee sessions, I would try to get my students to share their experience as multicultural students learning at WSU within the time span they have spent there. The presence of every culture exists when multicultural students come together and share their experience, and that is why I am proud to be a Pacific Islander, specifically a Samoan.
Throughout this page, I would constantly embrace my experience as a Pacific Islander at WSU through the many activities I have taken part in, the mentor-mentee sessions I have had with my multicultural students, the Pacific cultural dances I have taught to my Pacific Islanders club and the dances I was able to perform during the Dad’s Weekend Luau I have been part of. These experiences I would showcase in a variety of ways, such as future blog posts, photo collages, and videos. I hope you’ll enjoy! 🙂