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Southeast Asians Furthering Education (SAFE)

is a part of the Student Recruitment and Retention Center (SRRC), a student-services department at the University of California, Davis.

A high school meeting to plan the week's visitations. Notice the piping of South Hall's underbelly.

SAFE is located at the Student Community Center in the Student Recruitment and Retention Center

For more information, e-mail We are always looking for volunteers and interns to help carry out our purpose. If you are interested in receiving units or a transcript notation, or you simply want to help out from the goodness of your heart, feel free to contact us! 


SAFE is one of the seven community programs under the SRRC at UC Davis. We are a university department run entirely by students for students. We aim to provide our services and resources to anyone who identifies as Southeast Asian, especially those who come from families and backgrounds that were affected by the Vietnam War. Even though our programs are specifically designed for the Southeast Asian community, we do not exclude anyone. Our meetings and events are open to the public (unless stated otherwise). We invite you all to come out with a positive attitude, open mind, and willingness to learn about the SEA identity. SAFE focuses on two components: recruitment and retention. 


Once students get into an institution of higher education, we want them to stay and successfully receive their degree. We offer various workshops and resources to help retain our students such as demystifying AP/SD, providing studying spaces, targeting mental and physical health. For students who would like to get involved and want to gain many leadership skills, we highly encourage them to join our Volunteers and Internship Program so that they may continue to stay engaged and challenged throughout their time in college.

SAFErs on the Fall 2004 retreat.

  • Collaborations with SEA/API student organizations
    • Fall Welcome BBQ: kickoff to the academic school year
    • Corn Maze: socializing through screaming and running through the nation's largest corn maze
    • SEAsTaking: twist on Thanksgiving; celebrating our SEA/API New Year Festivities

2015 SEA BBQ

  • General Meetings to update community on current and upcoming events
  • Study Halls: productive nights before exams--refreshments always provided!
  • Southeast Asian Leadership Retreat also known as SEA Retreat
    • Explores identities, cultures, and politics in the SEA community

2016 Southeast Asian Retreat

  • Southeast Asian Open Mic Night (Passion Mic)
    • A night to acknowledge and highlight talent
  • SAFE Appreciation Night: a special time to give thanks to our VIPs and community supporters!


We visit middle and high schools in the Sacramento area to encourage students to pursue higher education through non-traditional approaches that do not involve after school tutoring, but various workshops that deal with identity, history, and culture. 

On Asian Pacific Culture Night 2005, SAFE takes a group of high school and middle school student to dinner at Tercero's Dining Commons and then treats them to the show. SAFE visits one high school on a regular basis: Valley High School. SAFE is present at one middle school: Samuel Jackman Middle School.

(Note: We used to visit Luther Burbank High, Florin High, and Highlands High School, but since, the point of contact has been busy to support our activities and we no longer have the ability to maintain our presence.)

  • Weekly School Outreaches
    • Engaging the students in workshops that deal with identity, history, and culture. 
  • Southeast Asian Youth Conference

2019 Southeast Asian Youth Conference

  • Field Day

Staff Directory (1999-2019)

Every SRRC community program organizes its coordinators in a different manner, but every program has at least (1) Retention and Recruitment Organizing Committee Representative (RROC) Board Rep or Student Director, (1) Administrative Coordinator, (1) Retention Coordinator and (1) Recruitment Coordinators. 

SAFE's current staff positions consist of (1) Student Director/RROC Representative, (1) Administrative Coordinator, (2) Recruitment Coordinators: the Middle School Outreach Coordinator and the High School Outreach Coordinator; and (2) Retention Coordinators: the Community Development and Advocacy Coordinator and the Student Academic Achievement Coordinator. Although specific duties and areas are laid out for each staff member, the Student Director and program coordinators function as a team and work collaboratively with each other and their VIPs to accomplish SAFE's goals. To determine if staff positions are still or no longer needed, SAFE programs and goals are considered by the RROC Board.



2019-2020 Coordinators

  • Quynh Tran - Student Director/RROC RepAdd a caption
  • Megan Duong - Administrative Coordinator
  • Sabrina Thao - High School Outreach Coordinator
  • Hope Thao - Middle School Outreach Coordinator 
  • Sophie Pham - Community Development and Advocacy Coordinator
  • Chau Nguyen - Student Academic Achievement Coordinator

2018-2019 Coordinators

  • Suzanne Vue - Student Director/RROC Rep
  • Khanh Phu - Administrative Coordinator
  • Dao Vang - High School Outreach
  • Judy ChangMiddle School Outreach
  • Anson Saechao - Community Development and Advocacy Coordinator
  • Shayla Phothisene  - Student Academic Achievement Coordinator

2018-2019 SAFE Staff. Left to Right: Dao Vang, Khanh Phu, Judy Chang, Suzanne Vue, Shayla Phothisene, Anson Saechao

2017-2018 Coordinators

  • Christopher Pheneger - Student Director/RROC Rep
  • Brian Tran - Administrative Coordinator
  • Shayla Phothisene - High School Outreach
  • Judy ChangMiddle School Outreach
  • Marady Chhim - Community Development and Advocacy Coordinator
  • Kimberly Pariyavanh - Holistic Retention Coordinator

2017-2018 SAFE Staff. Left to Right: Christopher Pheneger, Brian Tran, Kimberly Pariyavanh, Marady Chhim, Shayla Phothisene, and Judy Chang

2016-2017 Coordinators 

  • Xanh (Sunny) Tran - Student Director/RROC Rep
  • Christopher Pheneger - Administrative Coordinator
  • Mary Moua - High School Outreach
  • Shayla Phothisene - Middle School Outreach
  • Amanda Saetern - Community Development and Advocacy Coordinator
  • Julie Le - Holistic Retention Coordinator 


2016-2017 SAFE Staff. Left to Right: Julie Le, Amanda Saetern, Sunny Tran, Christopher Pheneger, Shayla Phothisene, Mary Moua

2015-2016 Coordinators 

  • Tiffany Giang - Student Director/RROC Rep
  • Jenny Muk - Administrative Coordinator
  • Kayla Lor - High School Outreach
  • Izabela (Izzie) Villanueva - Middle School Outreach
  • Xanh (Sunny) Tran - Community Development and Advocacy Coordinator
  • Lisa Lam - Holistic Retention Coordinator 

2015-2016 SAFE staff. Front Left to Right: Lisa Lam. Tiffany Giang. Back Left to Right: Izzie Villanueva. Jenny Muk, Sunny Tran, Kayla Lor 

2014-2015 Coordinators

  • Yee Xiong - Student Director/RROC Rep
  • Pa Nhia Her - Administrative Coordinator
  • Sarn Saechao - High School Outreach
  • Kevin Vang - Middle School Outreach
  • Zenni Duong - Academic Retention
  • Linda Nguyen - Community Development

2013-2014 Coordinators

  • Vivian Bui - Student Director/RROC Rep
  • Mai Moua Vang - Administrative Coordinator
  • Samantha Her - High School Outreach
  • Lee Lo - Middle School Outreach
  • Gordon Lim - Academic Retention
  • Casey Nguyen - Community Development

2012-2013 Coordinators

  • Teresa Tran - Student Director/RROC Rep
  • Xuan Tran - Administrative Director
  • Boon Xou Khang - High School Outreach
  • Gordon Lim - Middle School Outreach
  • Tri-Thien Nguyen-Lam - Academic Retention
  • Kevin Vang - Community Development

2011-2012 Coordinators

  • Teresa Tran - Student Director/RROC Rep
  • Jamie Lam - Administrative Director
  • Anh Nguyen - High School Outreach
  • Boon Xou Khang - Middle School Outreach
  • Eve Vang - Academic Retention
  • Shirley Duong - Community Development

2010-2011 Coordinators

  • Poyee Vang - Student Director/RROC Rep
  • Rosa Lee - Administrative Director
  • Michael Nguyen- High School Outreach
  • Nancy Le - Middle School Outreach
  • Nhia Moua - Academic Retention
  • Mai Her - Community Development

2009-2010 Coordinators

  • Phung Kim Vo - Student Director/RROC Rep
  • Katherine Hammond - Administrative Director
  • Rhummanee Hang- High School Outreach
  • Mai Her - Middle School Outreach
  • Crystal Yah - Academic Retention
  • Danny Liemthongsamout - Community Development

2008-2009 Coordinators

  • Stephanie Tan - Student Director/RROC Rep
  • Paul Vang - Resource/Administrative
  • Amy Voong- High School Outreach
  • Kathy Her - Middle School Outreach
  • Daniel Dam - Academic Retention
  • Crystal Yah - Community Development
  • Bruce Lam

2007-2008 Coordinators

  • Stephanie Sok Tan - Student Director/RROC Rep
  • Dee Her - Administrative Coordinator
  • Paul Vang - High School Academic Coordinator
  • Sacksith Ekkaphanh - High School Cultural Coordinator
  • Anne Tran - Middle School Outreach Coordinator
  • Jenny Kim - Academic Retention Coordinator
  • Elywill "Kaisey" Zamora Paja - Community Development

2006-2007 Coordinators

  • Azizah Ahmad - RROC Rep/Student Director
  • Maiyee Xiong - Administration
  • Anne Nguyen and Jenny Hoang- High School Outreach
  • Maisee Lor - Middle School Outreach
  • Judy Hinh
  • Sonia Saini

2005-2006 Coordinators04 June 2005 staff retreat, with coordinators present and future. Left to right: Ritchie Lee, Seng Moua, Diane Yang, Padee Vue, Yer Her, Mandeep Dhaliwal, Julie Nguyen, and Lucy Moua.

  • Diane Yang - RROC Rep/Student Director
  • Yer Her - Administration
  • Lucy Moua and Cathy Tran - High School Outreach
  • Ritchie Lee and Darny Sy - Retention

2004-2005 Coordinators

  • Lang Fang - RROC Rep/Student Director
  • Seng Moua - Administrative Coordinator
  • Julie Nguyen - Enrichment and Mentorship
  • Padee Vue - High School Academic Outreach
  • MandeepDhaliwal - Middle School Outreach
  • Boravy Nhim - Peer Mentor Coordinator
  • Jenny Yang - Academic Retention

2003-2004 Coordinators23

  • Rican Vue - RROC Rep/Student Director
  • Kari Vang - Administration
  • Chio Saephanh - Academic Outreach
  • Thuy-My Ong - Middle School Outreach
  • Phuc Nguyen - Academic Retention
  • Barry Thao - Peer Mentorship
  • Xuan Vo - Enrichment/Mentorship
  • Thuc Nguyen - Transfer Student

2002-2003 Coordinators

  • Loan Ly
  • Xiong Moua
  • Cindy Tseng
  • Barry Thao
  • Garrett Toy
  • Xong Vue
  • Rican Vue
  • Tu Lien Kim Nguyen - Academic Retention

2001-2002 Coordinators 4

  • Xong Vang - RROC Rep/Student Director
  • Rican Vue - Administrative Assistant
  • Doua Thor - Academic Outreach
  • Jimmy Xiong - Academic Retention
  • Joshua Liu - Middle School Outreach
  • Kevin Du - Enrichment/Mentorship
  • Jason Lew - Transfer Student Outreach
  • Sao Xiong - Peer Advising Coordinator

2000-2001 Coordinators5

  • Nancy Vue - RROC Rep
  • Monique Chhun - Resource
  • Sarah Nguyen - Retention
  • Vicky Vang -  Recruitment
  • Kao Vang
  • Monique Chhun

1999-2000 Coordinators6

  • Phoua Moua - Resource
  • Ia Moua and Kao Vang - Recruitment
  • Ka Vang and Kao Vang - Retention

Staff, Interns, and Volunteers

2000-2001 KEY STAFF7

  • Kao Vang
  • Kao Vang
  • Maiko Xiong
  • Jimmy Xiong
  • Nancy Vue


Founded in 1999 by Kao Vang and the other RROC Reps: Laura Akers, Isis Castro, Jehan Clark, Christina Escobar, Yvonne Marsh, Javier A. Tarango, and Michelle Villaluz. Kao Vang was SAFE's RROC Rep. Prior to the SRRC, no component of the SRRC had functioned individually except for Bridge

Seal of the Hmong Student Union. Anonymous drawing. An original, slightly modified, hovers over the SAFE desk in 16 South Hall. Much of the SRRC's culture and administrative structure finds roots in UCLA's Student Retention Center. The UCLA SRC makes use of "mother organizations," established student groups that provide support for the fledgling campus department. Many people both oppose and uphold this model of structural support. SAFE is supported by the Hmong Student Union, currently one of the largest and strongest Asian Pacific Islander student UCD clubs. Kao Vang was a member of HSU, and with her initial support, SAFE became predominantly staffed with HSU members. Although that trend continues today, SAFE is beginning to reflect more of the Southeast Asian community. Our goals has always been to further the educational needs of all Southeast Asians.

To the outsider, SAFE's most visible reflection of change can be seen in the coordinator titles that we hold. In the past there have been rigid titles that attempted to clearly define a person's role in managing strategic goals. It's not clear how strongly past coordinators adhered to those titles, but titles are beginning to matter less and less in the SRRC. We commonly refer to each other as being "resource, retention, or recruitment" instead of our formal titles. You can also notice how different areas fade and fold into others, especially the "transfer student" and "peer mentorship" positions. Recently, SAFE has decided that these are auxilary to the programs of other campus organizations. For example, clubs on campus have better and stronger peer mentorship programs than SAFE, owing strongly to the fact that those clubs are easier to identify with than SAFE. Since there are so few Southeast Asian transfers on campus, SAFE has decided to scrap a formal component and serve that population on a case-by-case basis.

Diane Yang is currently the youngest RROC member, in terms of both age (DOB 07 November 1986) and school year (sophomore). Correct me if I'm wrong, but she's also the youngest RROC ever to sit on the committee.


1. Source: All coordinator listings before 04-05 are sketchy. I've pieced them together from bits of old documents and my own memory.
2. Source: Old business card files in the SRRC server. Positions and names may not be accurate.
3. Source: Old files from the selection board located in the SRRC server.
4. Source: Nancy Vue's "SAFE JOB DESCRIPTION" email contained in her 2000-2001 RROC Rep folder.
5. Source: an old SAFE 2000 pamphlet contained in Nancy Vue's 2000-2001 RROC Rep folder.
6. Source: Nancy Vue's "SAFE JOB DESCRIPTION" email contained in her 2000-2001 RROC Rep folder.