On Being “Whasian”: Mixed Race Identity and the First Year College Experience

Thu, Apr 24, 2014 | 3:00 PM | Alexander Library Teleconference Lecture Hall (169 College Avenue, 4th Floor)

Free and open to the Rutgers University community and the general public. Click here for directions to the Alexander Library.

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The Tyler Clementi Center is proud to present the debut of Joy Stoffer’s Whasian, a novel that explores the mixed racial roots of being of white and Asian descent. Tormented by her Chinese mother and neglected by her Caucasian father, Stoffer’s protagonist, Ava Magee, enters freshman year determined to put her family demons behind her. She attempts to reinvent herself by indulging in the “typical” college experience, but old and new friends question her increasingly erratic behavior. As the school year continues, it becomes evident that Ava is hiding a painful secret. Unable to confront her mother or engage with her father, she struggles to reconcile her split identity. When events finally force Ava to address her problems, she realizes that self-acceptance requires retrospective action: only by examining her past can she ever hope to move forward.


Joy Stoffers was raised in East Brunswick, NJ, by a Taiwanese mother and a Caucasian father. She is the opposite of her brother, an aerospace engineer who works for Boeing; she prefers the creation of novels to the design of aircraft. Stoffers will graduate this spring with a BA in English. Whasian is her debut novel, which she is completing as a senior thesis for the School of Arts and Sciences honors program. Next year, she will be pursuing her master’s degree in creative writing at Newcastle University in England and shopping for a publisher for Whasian.


Office of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs | Department of American Studies | School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program | Office of the Senior Dean of Students