A professor urged Amy Wong Mok to ask questions. Decades later, she’s still at it

Amy Wong Mok is the founder and chief executive officer of the Asian American Cultural Center in Austin, Texas.

The story of Mok’s unpredictable life can be told in three steps: (1) her traditional Chinese upbringing; (2) her introduction to the American point of view; and (3) her ongoing desire to marry the two worlds, to the common benefit of both sides.

“It really is because of Dr. Barbara Schram at Northeastern,” Mok said. “She was the turning point.”

The Asian American Cultural Center, which Mok founded in 2000, serves as a bridge between the Asian and American communities of Austin. It offers pre-school and after-school programs, assistance for working mothers, and classes of all kinds. Mok’s newest goal is to develop senior housing.

I’m not the brightest, I’m not the most able,” she said. “But I’m the one who is willing. And I’m also not afraid. If I don’t know, I’m determined to know. I will find out.”

Mok’s co-ops at Northeastern—working in special education and with runaway children—helped her to realize the potential within herself that Schram had urged her to explore.

As she looked back upon her journey from Hong Kong to Texas, Mok recognized that she has been trying to guide others as she was guided at Northeastern. “It is almost like I’m doing what the professors were doing,” she said with laughter for this latest revelation. “Pass it on.”

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