James Binauhan, Bachelor's in Asian Studies ’11
Caring for Community
How a Data Analyst Serves the Bay’s Asian Population
“I chose USF because it’s centrally located in one of the most diverse cities in the world.”
You might not think a Data Analyst at Salesforce would be able to effect change in marginalized communities. Asian Studies major James Binauhan ’11 would prove you wrong. James wanted to work at Salesforce specifically because it gave him the chance to work with the communities he cares about. Employees get volunteer time off to help with nonprofits that advocate for the rights of underrepresented populations or other important causes. In addition, employee resource groups give them a chance to pursue outside interests related to diversity and inclusion. James takes advantage of both of these perks to serve Asian communities around the Bay.
How did the Asian Studies program prepare you for your job?
The Japanese language courses proved very helpful, especially in terms of syntax and memorization. Currently in my role, I do coding. The process of learning how to code was very similar to learning a foreign language. I had to remember the rules and syntax of certain coding languages.
The program also taught me the skills necessary for outreach and organizing. This included coordinating and interpersonal and strategic communication, which has helped me be successful at my job. Salesforce encourages its employees to work with communities. For my part, I organize two Filipino-American nonprofits in the South Bay: the Filipino American National Historical Society and LEAD Filipino. I am also part of the AsiaPacForce employee resource group at Salesforce, working with the Filipino Ohana. Because of my experience in the Asian Studies program, I’m able to use historical contexts and references to define and outline the direction of these Filipino/Asian/Asian-American centered organizations.
Why did you want to major in Asian Studies at USF?
I wanted to major in Asian Studies because I had a huge interest in knowing the experiences and histories of the Asian peoples, particularly that of the Philippines.
I chose USF because of the Jesuit education they offered, and because it is centrally located in one of the most diverse, dynamic and beautiful cities in the world.
What are some of your best memories from the Asian Studies program?
My professors encouraged us to use the city and the world as our classroom. My adviser, Jay Gonzalez, told me about a number of opportunities and encouraged me to apply. As a result, I was an intern for former Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, serving as a liaison for the Asian Pacific Islander American community. I was also part of the Filipino American outreach team for Senator Yee's 2011 mayoral campaign. I was also afforded the privilege of doing a Fulbright in the Philippines in 2010. That was definitely the experience that reassured me that Asian Studies was the field I really was meant to pursue.