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Born in the Philippines, Dr. Katharina “Kats” Mendoza graduated from the University of the Philippines in Quezon City with a Bachelor of Arts in English, Creative Writing. In 1999 she immigrated to the United States of America to continue her pursuit of a higher education where she received a Master of Arts Degree in English Language and Literature from Virginia Tech. She then went on to receive a Ph.D. in Women’s Studies from the University of Iowa. She is now a valued member of the Auntie Sewing Squad, where she uses her sewing skills to make masks for overlooked communities that are in need.
(00:00:00) After brief salutations, Mendoza details her background and what it was like growing up in the Philippines. (00:10:11) She goes on to describe her education in the Philippines and what her family thought about her going to the University of the Philippines. (00:12:45) Mendoza begins to elaborate on her decision to continue her education in the United States, what it was like living in Blacksburg,Virginia and then in Iowa City, Iowa.(00:30:20) She talks about her experience in sewing and how she came to join the Auntie Sewing Squad. (00:34:25) Mendoza talks to us about some of her experiences with another sewing group and how it differs from the Auntie Sewing Squad, and how she and the Aunties share similar values. (00:55:33) She shares with us her thoughts on how some attitudes have changed towards Asian Americans since her arrival to the United States in 1999. (01:05:21) Mendoza enlightens us on how non-Asian individuals can help Asian American communities and offer a safe space. (01:10:40) She shares with us her area of expertise, on the topic of Filipina comfort women of World War II and how they relate with modern Asian women and their relationship with the US military bases in the countries of Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries.(01:25:36) Finally Mendoza concludes the interview by sharing some of the things she misses from the Philippines, how she shares her Filipina culture with US culture, and what Filipina communities she has found in the US.
Ivan Alejo; Tianna Cavanaugh
Mendoza, Kats, "Interview with Kats Mendoza" (2021). Auntie Sewing Squad Interviews. 33.