Get to Know Our Asian-American and Pacific Islander Students

The month of May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders make up an incredibly diverse group representing different countries, languages, and cultures. To celebrate AAPIHM, we wanted to highlight some of our students. Get to know Teura, Amber, Erika, and Maila!

Teura Slade, Junior, Elementary Education and TESOL

Teura Slade with nature background
Photo courtesy of Teura Slade

Hometown: Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i

Favorite food: Macaroni and cheese. My soul food.

Best class in the McKay School: Foundations of Multicultural Education (EL ED 203)

Quote to live by: “We must live by faith and not by fear.” —Elder Quentin L. Cook

Most influential teacher: My fourth-grade teacher. She had a positive attitude and was very loving toward her students. Her teaching style helped make learning a fun activity, and she encouraged me to always do my best. This teacher actually inspired me to become a teacher myself.

Best part of being an Asian American and a Pacific Islander: Being able to live and connect with the cultures in all parts of my life. Also, the food is amazing!  


Amber Norris, Senior, Special Education (Severe Disabilities Emphasis)

Amber in wedding dress with lei and flower crown standing near Provo City Center Temple Visitor's Center
Photo courtesy of Amber Norris

Hometown: Santa Clarita, California

Best class at BYU: Songwriting (MUSIC 186)!

Dream job: Working in the disability outreach department at Church headquarters or teaching life skills to students with disabilities. 

Most exciting thing in 2019: My husband and I are buying our first home and I’m super excited!

Most beautiful place you’ve visited: Carlsmith Beach Park on the Big Island is one of my favorites!

Best part of being an Asian American and a Pacific Islander? THE FOOD. I also love being a part of so many different kinds of cultures! I’m part Hawaiian, Chinese, and Japanese, and I love learning about my heritage. I look forward to passing stories down to my own family.

Erika Takamasa, Junior, Elementary Education

Erika in a pink shirt, smiling, with a grassy background
Photo courtesy of Erika Takamasa

Hometown: Dublin, Ohio

Best class at BYU: Christ and the Everlasting Gospel (REL C 250) with Brother Griffin

Most beautiful place you’ve visited: The Dominican Republic with Humanitarian Experience for Youth (HEFY)

Dream job: Working at an international elementary school in Japan.

Most exciting thing in 2019: Got married!

Favorite food: Ice cream, Mediterranean food, and Persian food

Best advice received: Choose to love.


Maila Tafua, Senior, Elementary Education and TESOL

Maila in a denim shirt looking at the camera smiling.
Photo courtesy of Maila Tafua 

Hometown: Laie, Hawai’i

Favorite food: Poke (raw fish) and rice with Maui onion chips and lilikoi juice

Best class in the McKay School: Foundations of Multicultural Education (EL ED 203) with Professor Cutri

Quote you live by:Mai maka'u i ka hana maka'u i ka moloā.” (Don’t fear work, fear laziness.)

The most exciting thing in 2019: Student teaching in China!

Favorite movie: She’s the Man

Next country to visit: Tahiti

Best part of being a Pacific Islander: I get to share my culture with others.


Writer: Anessa Pennington
Contact: Cynthia Glad 801-422-1922