Center for Asian American Studies
Center for Asian American Studies

Advisory Committee

Richard Jung is a partner at Jung Ko, PLLC and is currently running for Travis County Commissioner, Pct 2. Mr. Jung graduated from Vanderbilt University with a B.A. in Philosophy and received his JD from Catholic University of America. He has held positions ranging from Assistant Director for Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs for the District of Columbia to CEO of a global sales and distribution company to the semiconductor industry. He currently serves on several boards including Austin Travis County EMS Advisory Board (Appointed Board Member), Austin Sustainable Development Working Group, Asian American Resource Center (Board Chair), Network of Asian American Organizations (Board Member), and Austin Korean American Association of Greater Austin (Board Member).

Ali R. Khataw, P.E. is President of Encotech Engineering Consultants, and serves as Principal-in-Charge of all the projects with which Encotech has been involved. He has 30 years of engineering design and management experience. Mr. Khataw is also very active in the community, serving on eight different boards of directors, including Greater Austin Asian American Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Lee Leffingwell's EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Advisory Committee, American institute of Architects Austin Chapter, and Goodwill Industries of Central Texas.  He graduated from UT Austin with a B.S. in Civil Engineering.

Channy Soeur is the owner and CEO of CAS Consulting & Services (CAS), a full service civil engineering firm specializing in water/wastewater, stormwater, water resources, environmental and transportation engineering as well as program and construction management.  In 2007, CAS became the first minority firm to win a stand-alone project as a prime firm with the City of Austin. During the last 37 years, Mr. Soeur has volunteered on a multitude of grassroots and business advocate issues. He co-founded several organizations including the Austin Asian-American Chamber of Commerce (AAACC), the Texas Federation of Asian American Chambers of Commerce (TFAACC) and the Network of Asian American Organizations (NAAO).

Dr. Martha J. Wong is the first Asian American elected to the Houston City Council and the first Asian American woman elected to the Texas House of Representatives. Dr. Wong earned a Bachelor degree from the University of Texas and a Masters and Doctorate from the University of Houston, where she has also been recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus by the University of Houston Alumni Association and the UH College of Education Alumni.  She currently serves on several Boards/Advisory Boards including the University of Texas Health School of Medical Bio Informatics, the Harris County Sheriff's Civil Service Commission, the Asian Pacific American Heritage Association (co founder), Asian Police Advisory Council, the Texas Asian American Assembly (chair), the Memorial West Republican Women's Club and the Greater Houston Pachyderm Club.

Gene Wu grew up in a working class neighborhood in Southwest Houston. He received a Bachelor's Degree from Texas A&M University, and a Master's Degree from the LBJ School for Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin. During his time at the LBJ School he was awarded a fellowship at the Texas Workforce Commission to improve community college and technical school standards. After graduating, he became the Chief Clerk for the House Higher Education Committee for the Texas Legislature. Gene received his law degree from the South Texas College of Law in Houston and went on to join the Harris County District Attorney's office where he sought justice for thousands of crime victims. Gene spends his free time as a dedicated community volunteer. He has tutored at-risk youth, mentored struggling adults, and conducts monthly workshops helping Houston residents become United States citizens. After being elected State Representative, Gene was appointed to serve on the House Elections and Energy Resources Committees. Gene is now an attorney at the Sears Crawford Law Firm, and he and his wife are expecting their first child in September.

Lesley Varghese is the Executive Director and General Counsel of the Asian American Resource Center, a nonprofit organization created to support the construction and operation of the Asian American Resource Center (AARC) facility, a historic multi-phase bond project of the City of Austin. In addition to her AARC work, she lectures at the University of Texas at Austin. In January of 2013, Lesley received a teaching award from the UT Division of Diversity and Community Engagement for her work with students with disabilities. Lesley is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and is also a law graduate of American University. Lesley began her legal career as an attorney at McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore in Austin, Texas, during which time she participated on the Citizen’s Review Panel for the Office of the Police Monitor, provided pro bono representation through Texas C-BAR, and served as Chair Elect of the State Bar of Texas Asian Pacific Interest Section. Her pro bono work has been acknowledged by the Pro Bono College of Texas, and with a Firm Peabody Award for outstanding pro bono legal service. Lesley serves on the Board of Directors of the Boston Higashi School (a MA-based international residential program for children with autism), and the Board of Trustees for the Long Center for Performing Arts in Austin, Texas.