Celebrate #AAPIHeritageMonth in the classroom

May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month—a time to celebrate the excellence of Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander ancestry! Generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans have enriched the history of the United States, and they continue to play an instrumental part in its success and advancement.

Among many other accomplishments, Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans have made significant STEM contributions. Revolutionizing the way we consume online content by creating YouTube, ensuring learners have access to affordable education opportunities by starting online learning companies, or helping understand gravitational waves, life-threatening viruses, or diversity of Pacific algae: these and other inspirational scientists, not unlike WW Teaching Fellows, work tirelessly to help those around them understand and navigate the world and its complexity.

To help you bring some fresh inspiration into your classroom during the month of May and beyond, WW has created posters of prominent Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans in STEM, which can be downloaded in color here, or in black and white here.

Isabella Abbott

Ethnobotanist and educator

Dr. Abbott was the first native Hawaiian woman to receive a PhD in science. She was considered the world’s leading expert on Pacific algae, also known as limu in the Hawaiian language. Dr. Abbott authored eight books and over 150 publications, discovered over 200 limu species, and received the Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal from the National Academy of Sciences, among many other awards.

Kalpana Chawla

NASA astronaut and engineer

Dr. Chawla was the first woman of Indian descent to go to space. She first flew on the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997. On her second mission on Columbia, Dr. Chawla was one of the seven crew members who died when the shuttle disintegrated upon re-entry. She was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

Steve Chen

Computer scientist and internet entrepreneur

Mr. Chen is co-founder and previous chief technology officer of YouTube. He led YouTube through its Google acquisition less than a year after it launched and was instrumental in building the platform into the most popular video sharing site. Mr. Chen is currently an adviser at Google Ventures, a firm that provides funding to technology companies.

Jefferson Han

Computer scientist

Mr. Han is one of the main developers of “multi-touch sensing,” a technology that enables surfaces such as trackpads or touchscreens to recognize multiple points of contact. In 2006, he presented his multi-touch screen in a TED Talk and founded Perceptive Pixel, which was later acquired by Microsoft to enhance Windows OS.

Grant Imahara

Electrical engineer and roboticist

Mr. Imahara is best known for his work on MythBusters, where he used various electronics to test common myths through scientific experimentation. As an expert in animatronics, he worked on the three Star Wars prequels, the Matrix trilogy, and more. He is credited for his work in updating the aging Star Wars R2-D2 robots.

Michio Kaku

Theoretical physicist and popularizer of science

Dr. Kaku is a bestselling author, futurist, and science communicator known for his TV specials and physics books. He co-founded string field theory, building on Einstein’s unfinished work and helping expand our understanding of the universe. Dr. Kaku’s parents met in a concentration camp for American citizens of Japanese ancestry during World War II.

Nergis Mavalvala


Dr. Mavalvala is best known for her work with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) project, where she played a major role in the first observation of gravitational waves. She often speaks about the importance of breaking barriers such as traditional gender roles to pursue one’s career choice.

Andrew Ng

Computer scientist and global leader in AI

Dr. Ng is co-founder of the artificial intelligence research team Google Brain and founder of AI Fund, an investment fund for AI startups. His co-founding of Coursera and deeplearning.ai helped improve access to higher education and provide affordable educational opportunities to online learners.

Kathy Pham

Computer scientist and product leader

Ms. Pham, a founding member of the U.S. Digital Service, has also worked with companies like Google and IBM. She incorporates her passion for public service with her tech expertise by helping improve marginalized communities’ accessibility to government services. Ms. Pham was invited as First Lady Michelle Obama’s guest to the 2015 State of the Union.

Flossie Wong-Staal

Virologist and molecular biologist

Dr. Wong-Staal was the first scientist to clone HIV and determine the function of its genes, helping prove that HIV is the cause of AIDS. She also completed genetic mapping of the virus, which made testing for HIV possible. Dr. Wong-Staal is co-founder and chief scientific officer of iTherX Pharmaceuticals.


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