An educator-turned artist, storyteller, and creator, Dr. Ada Cheng has utilized storytelling to illustrate structural inequities, raise critical awareness, and build intimate communities. Committed to amplifying and uplifting marginalized voices, she has created numerous storytelling platforms for BIPOC and LGBTQIA community members to tell difficult and vulnerable stories. Because of her artistic and intellectual work, she has recently been named the Educator of the Year by the 7th Congressional District’s Multi-Ethnic Task Force and the American Multi-Ethnic Coalition, Inc.
She was a tenured professor in sociology at DePaul University from 2001-2016 when she resigned to pursue performance and storytelling. In 2019, she delivered Not Quite: Navigating Citizenship and Belonging as the keynote for Women and Girls in Georgia Conference. In 2021, she delivered keynotes for Chicago Cultural Alliance’s Activating Heritage Conference, AAPI Heritage Month at Dominican University, AAPI Heritage Month at Environmental Protection Agency, and Immigrants in Our Midst Conference.
Dr. Cheng has worked with numerous community organizations, including Chinese American Museum of Chicago, National Cambodian Heritage Museum, Japanese American Service Committee, i2i: Invisible to Invincible Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Chicago, and Center on Halsted. Her collaborative projects with the National Cambodian Heritage Museum have received Asian Giving Circle grants three years in a row since 2019.
Dr. Cheng has been a speaker for Illinois Humanities Speakers Bureau since 2019. She is also an adjunct faculty at Dominican University. Her interests encompass academia, storytelling/performance, and advocacy.