Meet Our APASS Staff


Phoumy_Sayavong-Photo-291x300-EditPhoumy Sayavong Ph.D.

APASS, Director

Phoumy Sayavong, Ph.D. serves as the Director of the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions Program at Laney College located in Oakland, CA.  Dr. Sayavong received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California at Santa Cruz.  His professional experience includes serving as the Senior Researcher for the Oakland Unified School District, teaching as a professor for the Public Health Program at Touro University California, Research Associate at the Metiri Group, Evaluator at NASA Ames’ Educational Technology Team, and Researcher for the Center for Education Diversity and Excellence.  Dr. Sayavong’s main interest includes the educational experience of immigrants and its effect on their sociocultural and psychological development.  He has also worked as a private consultant and evaluator on topics such as teacher professional development programs, data analysis, community mental health needs assessment, after school programs, academic assessments, computer assisted instruction, and survey development. 

16255_10100688241026328_1228023365_n-Edit-2Michael Lok M.P.P.

APASS, Program Specialist

Mike has been active in the Oakland Chinatown community since he was in high school interning at Asian Health Services. Mike worked as a Research Associate for the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), a juvenile justice research nonprofit, where he helped launch The Spot Oakland Chinatown Youth Center. Mike organizes fundraisers for The Spot and is the East Bay Chapter President of OCA, a national Asian Pacific American civil rights organization. Mike holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Politics from the UC Santa Cruz, and a Master’s of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University. In his free time Mike is either searching for the best eats in the Bay Area or supporting the Oakland A’s and Warriors. 

Cynthia Taing, M.S.

 APASS, Counselor

Cynthia Taing was born and raised in Southern California. She attended California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Human Development. Cynthia moved up to San Francisco to attend San Francisco State University (SFSU) for her Master of Science in Counseling degree. During her years at CSUSB, she was a peer advisor for the Psychology Department, Gateway Mentor, CSUSB Orientation Leader and an AVID tutor for Etiwanda High School. With all the experiences she had gained during her undergraduate years, her passion in helping and assisting students grew — which made her decide to go into the field of counseling.


APASS, Counselor

Dr. Ben Tran grew up in Northern California.  He received his Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Organizational Consulting/Organizational Psychology from California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University in San Francisco, California.  He also received his Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology from California School of Professional Psychology, and he attended California State University, Hayward, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, his Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication [with an emphasis in Organizational Communication/Public Relations], and his minor in Sociology. 

35872_115408761838194_1618814_nRoger Saechao

APASS Student Ambassador

Roger is a first generation college student and is majoring in Asian American Studies. He has been actively involved with community building since the age of 14 and has continuously built his character as a leader. As an Asian American Studies major, Roger understands the need of support for API students because he has been in the footsteps of API students who did not seek help or know where to go to receive educational support. Roger is an Oakland native who was born and raised in East Oakland. A fun fact about Roger is that he is a lifelong WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) fan, and as an Oakland native, Roger likes to support his local teams such as the Oakland Raiders, Oakland A’s, and the Golden State Warriors.

10417693_10101296211453718_2316582363025911560_n Zhexian (Jack) Huang

APASS Student Ambassador

 Jack spent almost half of his life in China. He came back to the United States after he finished elementary school. He attended both Oakland Senior High School and Alameda High School and graduated from Alameda High School. Now he is majoring in Art, and planning on transfer to a 4-year college. He can speak multiple languages such as English, Cantonese and Mandarin. Jack has been active in the Asian community around the bay area since he was in high school. He is enjoying helping people, and that is why he is joining a lot of programs such as Social Media Club and Apass. As the member of social media club, he helped to create a music concert. For Apass, he is hoping to help more people with his language skills.


Matalaoa (Oa) Taliva’a  

APASS Student Ambassador

My name is Matalaoa Taliva’a  and this is my second year with APASS. My experience with APASS has been fun. They motivated me to stay on top of my school work and make sure I reach a certain GPA that would help me get into different colleges after Laney. Also getting help from instructors and having the counselors set up your Student Education Plan (SEP) has really helped to stay on one path. When I first came into APASS, I wasn’t really familiar with the whole program. I was only told that it was mainly for the Asians community, but not knowing that it was for both Asians and Polynesians. My job with APASS is basically reaching out to the Asian Pacific Islanders, including my Samoan community, and the youths from different high school around the Bay Area and let them know what we provide for our students. APASS most definitely made my college years the best.