This summer we are collaborating with Dr. Xiumei Pu in her Project, "Mountains and Stories: Building Community Among Asian and Pacific Islander Refugee and Immigrant Families in Salt Lake Valley," with the support of a Whiting Public Engagement Programs Seed Grant. Anchored in the theme of mountains, the project consists of a twelve-part podcast and a documentary, a storytelling-conversation cultural event (June 26, 2021), and a group hike in the Wasatch Mountains (October 23, 2021). It is our hope that these efforts will amplify the environmental voices of Asian and Pacific Islander refugee and immigrant communities, and spark more public interest in thinking about the connection between culture, identity, and the natural environment. You can listen to previous episodes here on the IMR Podcast website.
At the heart of the project is a podcast series featuring the life and work of twelve storytellers who come from a range of age groups, occupations, and ethnic and racial backgrounds. Some of them are born in the United States; many of them are born in another Asian country or Pacific Island and immigrated to the US at a young age. Their stories show fascinating complexities of immigration routes and histories, incredible cultural richness and resilience, and long-lasting contributions of the Asian and Asian Pacific Islander communities to the social life and cultural landscapes of Salt Lake Valley and the broader Utah.
Kevin Nguyen (he/him) is a resident of West Valley, child of an immigrant family, community advocate, and avid outdoorsman. He was born and raised here in Salt Lake City, where he attended the University of Utah for both his graduate and undergraduate degree in Public Health and Exercise Science. Kevin believes that everyone has such a potential to change the lives of others for the better and works to serve his community wherever possible. Growing up through the “struggles”, he personally knows the challenges and understands how the power of community when everyone comes together to help one another. When he isn’t involved in his work, he spends his time exploring our wonderful mountains on his mountain bike or on foot during rescue operations as a Squad Leader with Salt Lake County’s Search and Rescue team.
Jeff Nichols and Brent Olson co-direct the Institute for Mountain Research and our 2018-2019 Mountain Fellows are Katie Saad and Naomi Shapiro. Our theme song is “Home” by Pixie and the Partygrass Boys.. As Naomi likes to say, “They are awesome and you should check them out.”
The Institute for Mountain Research is located on the ancestral and traditional lands of the Ute, Goshute, and Shoshone Peoples.