Alisa was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and identifies as biracial. She is fourth generation on both sides of her family: Japanese and Jewish American. After four years teaching English in Japan, Alisa moved to Portland to pursue her master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at PSU. During her studies she became more passionate about community language learning and after graduating started teaching citizenship classes at a local resettlement agency. This led to a full time position as the Community Outreach Supervisor for Refugee Services, focusing on community-based mental health. Alisa loves to meet new people and learn about different cultures and customs. She loves food (both eating and cooking) and believes gathering around food is one of the best ways to come together as a community. In her spare time, she loves to just hang out with her partner and their dog.