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House Description

658 Escondido Rd, Stanford, CA 94305
East Campus
Wilbur Hall
Housing Theme Type: 
Theme Name: 
Asian American Focus


Photograph of Okada House Staff at campus opening 2017-18.

In addition to the activities common to a 4-class residence, Okada celebrates the diversity of Asian Americans. It also serves as a focal point for students to explore the Asian American experience through a variety of educational events and activities.

All residents, Asian and non-Asian, contribute to the vibrancy of the dorm community. The dorm was named after John Okada in 1979, who is recognized as the first Asian American author.

The dorm has two goals. First, to be a community in which residents feel at home and are cared for, and where residents feel they can contribute to the vitality of the dorm. Second, to explore the variety of definitions and experiences of what it means to be Asian in America—how it is experienced by those who are connected to an Asian/Pacific Islander American identity, as well as by those who are not (and the people who feel in-between!).

Programs and activities related to the theme are for everyone in the dorm, not just for students who identify with it by heritage. Exploration of cultural, historical, and societal differences and commonalities are the basis for dorm programming.


Resident Fellows

Resident Fellow Names: 
Edith Wu-Nguyen and John Nguyen


Photograph of the Nguyen family.

Edith Wu-Nguyen and John Nguyen, along with their children, Eleanor and Jacob, have been  the Resident Fellows for Okada, the Asian American theme house, sicne 2017. 

Edith is the Associate Dean for New and Continuing Student Programs in Undergraduate Advising and Research (UAR) where she oversees the welcome and transition of new first-year and transfer students to Stanford through the Approaching Stanford process and New Student Orientation. She also collaborates closely with University partners to carry out programs that promote a sense of belonging to the Stanford community. As a Stanford alumna, Edith (’99) is quite convinced she has the best job on campus. While Stanford has changed in so many ways since she was a first-year student in 1995, it is still the same place where she grew into herself. What a privilege it is to now work with young people who are learning both about themselves and about how they can best contribute to this community. Edith earned her Master’s degree from the Harvard School of Public Health and her Bachelor’s degree from Stanford where she studied Human Biology and Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. While an undergrad at Stanford, Edith worked at the Haas Center for Public Service, co-led a service group called Project AIYME (Asian American Initiative for Youth Motivation & Empowerment), participated in Alternative Spring Breaks, and was an RA for Twain House – in fact, it was her Twain RFs, Arcadio and Ellen Morales, who encouraged her to come back to Stanford to work, first in Res Ed and then in UAR. Prior to returning to Stanford in 2006, she worked in community development non-profits in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, including as a youth counselor for Asian Americans for Community Involvement, a community-based organization providing health and human services to the Asian Pacific Islander community in San Jose; the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health; and the Head Start/Early Head Start Program of San Mateo County. Edith’s Stanford roots run deep: her parents moved from Taiwan to Stanford where her father earned his PhD in Civil Engineering, her mother worked in the East Asian Library Collection on campus, her sister (’95) and brother (’02) are graduates, and her brother-in-law (’95) was a ‘94-95 Okada RA.

John is the Logistics Director for Informatica, a software development company based in Redwood City where he has worked since 2000. Before switching into the tech field, he worked as a youth and family counselor and as a development associate for Asian Americans for Community Involvement. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at UC Santa Cruz and spent a year with the Master’s in Social Work program at San Jose State University. John was born in Vietnam and moved to the US with his family in 1974, living first in Tennessee near his sponsor family, and then moving to California where he grew up.

From 2008-2016, Edith and John served as the RFs for the off-campus Oak Creek Apartments, which housed undergraduates for eight years. Now, you can find this RF family taking walks around campus or spending time with their extended family, all of whom live in the area and plan on visiting Okada frequently. To continue the legacy of the beloved outgoing Okada RF, Anne Takemoto, their goal this year is to learn how to make Anne’s legendary banana bread!

Community Information

Residence Type: 
Four Class

Assignment-related Note

2 floors are single gendered and 1 is co-ed. 

Additional Community Information

What’s the coolest thing about your house and community?

We respect and celebrate our residents’ experiences and backgrounds through presentations on theme-related topics, interactions with faculty about their research, making challah together, sponsoring ramen nights, sharing boba, exploring the cultural diversity of the Bay Area, or just planning epic Smash Bros. tournaments. We encourage residents to be thoughtful in their interactions with each other and create a space where we can learn from each other in all kinds of settings.

What qualities make a successful Okada staff team member?

The best staff members have a vested interest in the residents and are present in the dorm. More than just worrying about residents’ safety, great staff members make the effort to really get to know residents well and interact with them frequently, whether through chance encounters in the hall, meal times, or through dorm events. Being cohesive and having really good chemistry between staff members is important as well. It really sets a good example for residents.

  • If you are interested in applying to a staff position at Okada, please include a recommendation from a supervisor/advisor for a job or student group position you’ve held at Stanford.

What’s your favorite event or tradition in your house? 

At our weekly house meetings we recognize a resident who has gone above and beyond to promote dorm bonding with the dorm’s “community award,” (we actually borrowed this tradition from Zapata many years ago).  The resident “fosters” the dorm’s warm, cuddly stuffed animal for a week, adds an accessory, and passes it on to the next recipient.  By the end of the year, the stuffed animal is covered with clever and fun accessories.

Requirements to Qualify for Pre-Assignment

How Rooms Are Assigned

Each preassigned resident has the option to select a single room for their contribution to the house theme. There are 12 singles available. Pre-assigned residents get the first pick of rooms during the in-house draw.

Tier Requirement

Pre-assignment to Okada REQUIRES the use of a TIER THREE housing choice.

Additional Requirements

Pre-assignment to Okada will be made for students who agree to the following conditions:
  • Participate in dorm life, attend house meetings regularly, and support other dorm activities.
  • Complete a theme project (see question #2 below) and attend all other theme project presentations.
  • Participate in at least one off-campus dorm event each quarter.
  • Participate in the Listen to the Silence Conference in January and/or Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration in May. This includes organizational and leadership duties such as committees, publicity, and volunteer shifts for events.
  • Live in Okada for Autumn and Winter Quarters. Preference will be given to applicants who can commit to living in Okada for all three quarters of 2018-19.

Requirements for Preassigned Residents of Okada

If assigned to Okada you must:
  • Attend ALL theme project presentations.
  • Complete a theme project.
  • Participate in dorm life, attend house meetings regularly, and support other dorm activities.
  • Participate in at least one off-campus dorm event each quarter.
  • Live in Okada for Autumn and Winter Quarters. Preference will be given to applicants who can commit to living in Okada for all three quarters of 2018-19.
Requirements for Residents of Okada

If assigned to Okada you must:

  • Participate in dorm life, attend house meetings regularly, and support other dorm activities.

House Staff

Resident Assistants (RA)
: 3
Ethnic Theme Associate (ETA)
: 3
Resident Computing Consultant (RCC)
: 1
Peer Health Educator (PHE)
: 1