Wisconsin’s Most Influential Asian American Leaders for 2024, Part 3


    This is the third of a five-part series. Part One is here and Part Two is here.

    Dr. Catherine Chan

    Dr. Catherine Chan is the assistant vice provost for high impact practices in the Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement at UW-Madison, where she provides administrative, operational, and strategic leadership for the DDEEA’s high-impact educational efforts. Chan leads the development, cultivation and implementation of the division’s framework for enhancing student experiences through high-impact educational practice programs and initiatives, including common intellectual experiences, undergraduate research, global learning, service and community-based learning, internships, and student employment. Chan oversees the division’s Academic Coaching to Thrive and Succeed, Center for Educational Opportunity, Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program, Education and Wellbeing, and experiential learning programs that include Global Scholars, Internship, and STEM Initiatives. Before joining UW–Madison in June 2022, Chan was a professor of biology and executive director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at UW–Eau Claire, where she worked to design, implement and improve equity-minded academic programs and high-impact educational practices. She earned her bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology from UW–Madison.


    Susan Tran Degrand

    Susan Tran Degrand currently serves as the Director for Equity, Inclusion & Employee Well-Being for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Office of Human Resources. Susan provides leadership, strategic vision and consultation for schools, colleges, divisions, and departments on campus as they work to support their employees through an equitable, and human-centered lens. Susan earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Community and Nonprofit Leadership and a certificate in Gender and Women Studies. In 2012, she earned her Master in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis with an emphasis in higher education and has since worked in higher education for nearly 14 years and has diverse experiences across functional, institutional areas supporting individual, programmatic, and systems-level approaches to embedding and operationalizing equity, diversity, and inclusion. 

    Saran Ouk

    Saran Ouk is manager of the Office of Business Resources for the City of Madison, where she helps businesses locate, open and expand within the City of Madison. She and her staff guide businesses through permitting and approval processes, direct businesses toward financial and technical assistance programs, and provide other support services. Before taking on that role, she worked in the City’s Department of Civil Rights as a contract compliance specialist. She is also founder of conNEXTions, a nonprofit organization that guides underrepresented young adults from the Madison community to achieve their financial, educational and career goals through mentoring, networking and professional development. She earned a degree in nonprofit management at the UW-Madison.

    Dr. Sawa Senzaki

    Dr. Sawa Senzaki is a Professor of Psychology, Associate Dean of the College of the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, and the director of the Children’s Learning and Developmental Science (CHILD’S) Lab at UW-Green Bay. Dr. Senzaki has been a strong advocate for undergraduate research, supervising over 100 students since 2013. In the CHILD’S Lab, Dr. Senzaki and her students conduct cross-cultural research with international collaborators and collect neurophysiological data, such as brain activities, eye movements, and heart rates. She is also actively involved in the community, working with organizations such as United Way, Literacy Green Bay, and Achieve Brown County. Her achievements include receiving an NIH AREA grant, an Invitational Research Fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, a UWGB Founders Award for Excellence in Scholarship, a UWGB Student Nominated Teaching Award, and the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Future 15 Young Professional Award.

    Irene Strohbeen

    Irene Strohbeen is owner of Irene Strohbeen and Associates, which provides consultation in innovation, new business development, and new product management. Clients have included Illinois Tool Works/Miller Electric, Central Garden and Pet, Kinnektor entrepreneur support organization, plus several individual inventors. She is also Entrepreneur in Residence at Lawrence University, where she serves as adjunct professor, mentor and coach to student teams in the introductory Innovation and Entrepreneurship course, culminating in a “investor pitch” for each team. She previously taught as adjunct faculty at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. She earned a degree in mathematics and chemistry from Lawrence and master’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

    Dr. Ryan Tsuchida

    Dr. Ryan Tsuchida is Assistant Dean for Multicultural Affairs for Health Professions Learners and an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. He is also Co-Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. Dr. Tsuchida also currently serves as a faculty mentor to underrepresented medical students through the Building Equitable Access to Mentorship (BEAM) initiative at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. He is the inaugural recipient of the Dr. Arno Kumagai Award for Excellence in Institutional Change to Promote Health Equity, Social Justice and Compassionate Care awarded by the University of Michigan Student Diversity Council. He also is the recipient of the 2021 Outstanding Future Academician Award, Academy for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Medicine (ADIEM)—an SAEM Academy—and currently holds the elected position of Secretary-Treasurer. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychobiology from the University of California, Los Angeles, his medical degree from the University of Michigan, and completed his emergency medicine residency at the University of Michigan where he served as chief resident.

    Sheng Lee Yang

    Sheng Lee Yang is executive director of Us 2 Behavioral Health Care, a nonprofit mental health organization she founded in 2019 focused on accessible, culturally competent care. She taught teaching social justice issues, mental health, and advocacy to social work students as an assistant professor at UW-Green Bay. She serves on the boards of several nonprofit organizations, including Asian Corporate & Entrepreneur Leaders – National, NEW Mental Health Connections, and Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity. She chairs the board of the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services. She is a member of the Wisconsin Maternal Mortality Review Team and the UW-Madison Prevention Research Center Community Advisory Board. She received her master’s degree in social work from the UW-Madison.

    Part Four coming tomorrow!