Julie Vo

Julie Vo

Vice President

Jes Vu

Jes Vu

Secretary

Thao Ha, PhD

President

Thao Ha earned a doctorate in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a professor of Sociology at MiraCosta College in Oceanside, CA, and has published a variety of academic works in the areas of race, gender, immigration, and Vietnamese American experiences in the South. She is an advisor and associate producer of Seadrift, a documentary about the racial violence and KKK intimidation that erupted in the 1970s against Vietnamese Americans in a small Texas fishing town. Her current project is focused on Vietnamese American incarceration. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Oceanside Promise, a non-profit collective impact organization addressing the needs of its community’s youth, and on the advisory board of the Asian Culture and Media Alliance in San Diego, CA.

Julie Vo

Vice President

Julie currently serves as Policy Director at the Orange County Asian & Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA) where she leads and supports policy and civic engagement efforts which include nonpartisan voter mobilization and GOTV, community and legislative advocacy, community education, and the integration of policy advocacy and civic engagement across the agency’s direct service departments. Previously, she served as Director of Development at Environmental Charter Schools in Los Angeles. She is also the Advisory Board Chair of Orange County Environmental Justice and is a member of the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative Steering Committee. Julie has more than fifteen years of experience in nonprofit development and fundraising, youth development, and community arts, particularly in Orange County and is committed to developing powerful youth, promoting artistic expression as a way to nurture community, and building strategies for change within communities of color. She has taught at the National Academy of Social Sciences in Vietnam, has been honored for her community leadership by the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative and was awarded Best Advocacy Voice by New American Media (NAM). Julie holds a B.A. in Sociology and Asian American Studies and a minor in Education from UCLA.

Thuy Vo Dang, PhD

Treasurer

Thuy Vo Dang is a professor of Information Studies at UCLA where she also co-directs the Community Archives Lab. Formerly the Curator for the Southeast Asian Archive (SEAA) at UC Irvine, she has a Ph.D. and M.A. in Ethnic Studies from UC San Diego and specializes in oral history, cultural studies, immigration and refugee studies, and community archives.  She is co-author of A People’s Guide to Orange County (2022), a book that foregrounds stories of the region through a social justice lens, and Vietnamese in Orange County, a visual history book that documents forty years of the community (2015). Thuy has served on the VAALA Board of Directors since 2010 and also joined the Arts Orange County Board of Directors in 2016.

Jes Vu

Secretary

Jes Vu is the Communications Manager at CAPE, a non-profit organization that champions diversity by connecting, educating, and empowering Asian American and Pacific Islander artists and leaders in entertainment and media. A proud child of Vietnamese refugees, Jes grew up outside the suburbs of Philadelphia before spending her undergrad in the nation’s capital at American University studying Film & Media Arts and minoring in Graphic Design. She eventually migrated west to Los Angeles and worked at various production companies, studios and for independent producers. Currently, she is on the Board for Amplify Asian America, previously The 2020 Project (which Jes served as VIP Outreach), a non-partisan Asian American-targeted civic engagement organization. She also served as one of the Story & Cultural Consultant for Disney Animation’s RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON as part of their Southeast Asia Story Trust and has engaged as a consultant for casting agencies, studios/networks as well as upcoming unannounced independent feature projects.

Outside of work, she is a nerd for pop culture, and impatiently waiting for the next episode of her favorite Korean dramas. She is the producer of Southern Fried Asian, a podcast under The Nerds of Color, which profiles the diversity of Asian Americans from the American South.

Thao Ha, PhD

Thao Ha earned a doctorate in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a professor of Sociology at MiraCosta College in Oceanside, CA, and has published a variety of academic works in the areas of race, gender, immigration, and Vietnamese American experiences in the South. She is an advisor and associate producer of Seadrift, a documentary about the racial violence and KKK intimidation that erupted in the 1970s against Vietnamese Americans in a small Texas fishing town. Her current project is focused on Vietnamese American incarceration. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Oceanside Promise, a non-profit collective impact organization addressing the needs of its community’s youth, and on the advisory board of the Asian Culture and Media Alliance in San Diego, CA.

Julie Vo

Julie currently serves as Policy Director at the Orange County Asian & Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA) where she leads and supports policy and civic engagement efforts which include nonpartisan voter mobilization and GOTV, community and legislative advocacy, community education, and the integration of policy advocacy and civic engagement across the agency’s direct service departments. Previously, she served as Director of Development at Environmental Charter Schools in Los Angeles. She is also the Advisory Board Chair of Orange County Environmental Justice and is a member of the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative Steering Committee. Julie has more than fifteen years of experience in nonprofit development and fundraising, youth development, and community arts, particularly in Orange County and is committed to developing powerful youth, promoting artistic expression as a way to nurture community, and building strategies for change within communities of color. She has taught at the National Academy of Social Sciences in Vietnam, has been honored for her community leadership by the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative and was awarded Best Advocacy Voice by New American Media (NAM). Julie holds a B.A. in Sociology and Asian American Studies and a minor in Education from UCLA.

Thuy Vo Dang, PhD

Thuy Vo Dang is a professor of Information Studies at UCLA where she also co-directs the Community Archives Lab. Formerly the Curator for the Southeast Asian Archive (SEAA) at UC Irvine, she has a Ph.D. and M.A. in Ethnic Studies from UC San Diego and specializes in oral history, cultural studies, immigration and refugee studies, and community archives.  She is co-author of A People’s Guide to Orange County (2022), a book that foregrounds stories of the region through a social justice lens, and Vietnamese in Orange County, a visual history book that documents forty years of the community (2015). Thuy has served on the VAALA Board of Directors since 2010 and also joined the Arts Orange County Board of Directors in 2016.

Jes Vu

Jes Vu is the Communications Manager at CAPE, a non-profit organization that champions diversity by connecting, educating, and empowering Asian American and Pacific Islander artists and leaders in entertainment and media. A proud child of Vietnamese refugees, Jes grew up outside the suburbs of Philadelphia before spending her undergrad in the nation’s capital at American University studying Film & Media Arts and minoring in Graphic Design. She eventually migrated west to Los Angeles and worked at various production companies, studios and for independent producers. Currently, she is on the Board for Amplify Asian America, previously The 2020 Project (which Jes served as VIP Outreach), a non-partisan Asian American-targeted civic engagement organization. She also served as one of the Story & Cultural Consultant for Disney Animation’s RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON as part of their Southeast Asia Story Trust and has engaged as a consultant for casting agencies, studios/networks as well as upcoming unannounced independent feature projects.

Outside of work, she is a nerd for pop culture, and impatiently waiting for the next episode of her favorite Korean dramas. She is the producer of Southern Fried Asian, a podcast under The Nerds of Color, which profiles the diversity of Asian Americans from the American South.


We’re grateful to all of the board of directors, past and present, who have contributed to make VAALA what it is today.
See Past Board Members