Tabitha Espina.

On a spontaneous trip to the Yakima Valley Museum, Tabitha Espina (’20 PhD English) perused the history exhibits and wondered, “Where are all the Filipinos?”

A WSU Pullman graduate student at the time, she had read about the experiences of Yakima’s Filipino Americans in Carlos Bulosan’s classic 1943 memoir, America is in the Heart.

Espina’s question led her to a roundtable with the museum, Arts Washington, and Humanities Washington where she served as a graduate fellow, exploring ways to amplify Filipino-American narratives in the Pacific Northwest.

“You may not be separated by oceans. But there are other borders,” she says. “How do you transcend those borders? Not just geographically, but also ideologically.”

Espina’s work in the classroom and communities requires curiosity, like a moment in a museum. It also requires imagination and envisioning how communities can engage with different perspectives. In addition to teaching and research, she has a heart for service.

Find out more

Washington State Magazine