Jeannette Soon-Ludes is currently serving as the Director of Scholarships and Programs at the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund. She is also a recent graduate of the Women’s Studies doctoral program at the University of Maryland. Her dissertation, Dissonant Belonging and the Making of Community: Native Hawaiian Claims to Selfhood and Home, explores Kanaka Maoli (indigenous Hawaiian) identity formation. Her work is a critical intervention into discourses that frame multi-ethnicity as incompatible with indigenous identity, arguing instead that indigenous multi-ethnicity enables communities to thrive under conditions of colonialism.
As an intellectual, protector, and administrator Jeannette is deeply invested in producing – and questioning – the ways in which Kanaka Maoli and other indigenous people find success in higher education. Her work in all these spaces strives toward producing individual “success” while questioning also the deeply rooted ways in which success is both structurally prohibitive and antithetical to indigenous knowledge systems.