May is Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi and Asian American Heritage Month. Throughout the month, The Daily will highlight members of the university community who are of Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi and Asian American heritage to celebrate their accomplishments as members of the campus community and shed light on their experiences at CWRU.

When Ashley Lu was deciding which Master of Accountancy program to apply to, Weatherhead School of Management’s small class sizes and one-on-one relationships instantly clicked with her interests. Weatherhead quickly became her top choice and, once accepted, she began her program in the fall of 2007. 

“The two years I spent in the program were a treasure to me,” she said. “I’m always proud to be a CWRU alum.”

As a graduate student, Lu set herself apart. In fact, she was so impressive that in January 2010, she was recruited to come back to Weatherhead as a part-time international student counselor. At that time, the United States was still in the throes of the 2008 financial crisis and Lu was tasked with helping international students navigate the additional challenges they were facing.

Lu only intended for the position to be temporary, but the relationships she built with students led her to turn the position into a full-time career.

Now, Lu is the Master of Accountancy program manager, a position that allows her to advise 55 students from seven countries in both the academic and student life aspects of their studies at Case Western Reserve University.

“No doubt, the most rewarding part is to see my students succeed,” she said. “I can’t quite describe the feeling when I know my students receive a job offer, win a prize in a competition, achieve their goals in their personal life, or even just small things like getting an A on a quiz or presenting well in class. These moments are like waking up in the morning with the first ray of sunshine. They make me feel like the days ahead will only get better and better.”

In addition to her role in the Master of Accountancy program, Lu is part of the International Student Services advisory council, a group of staff members that meets regularly to share ideas about advising international students.

When asked what members of the university community should know about the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, she explained that people shouldn’t make assumptions about someone just based on their physical appearance.

“The challenges the AAPI group is facing to live in the U.S. are much more complicated than what most people think,” Lu said. “The hate crime and unequal treatment reveal only a small piece of the whole picture. There is still a long way for us to learn about this group and to truly accept them into the community.”

For example, she said that because of their appearance, some people unfairly make automatic assumptions about members of the AAPI community. They may face questions about where they are “originally” from and comments on their “good” English, even when their families have lived in the United States for generations.

We’re grateful to have Lu as a staff member at Case Western Reserve University. To learn more about Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi and Asian American Heritage Month, visit the Center for International Affairs website.