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Meet Your AC: SunAh Marie Laybourn

Updated: May 3, 2020

The KAAN Advisory Council is excited to launch a new blog series, "Meet Your AC Member!" Coordinated by KAAN Member Engagement Co-Chairs, Aeriel A. Ashlee, and Alyson Yost, this project seeks to better engage the KAAN community by increasing visibility and connection between KAAN members and the KAAN Advisory Council. Each post will feature a different Advisory Council member. If you have questions about the Advisory Council, or how to get more involved with KAAN, please email

Name: SunAh Marie Laybourn

Gender Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Where do you call home? Memphis, TN, USA

Tell us a little about yourself. How do you spend your time outside of KAAN?

I am an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Memphis (my undergrad alma mater), where I teach classes on racial and ethnic minorities, critical race theory, and hip hop music in Memphis. I am also the producer for the Verbally Effective podcast with Ena Esco and co-host of A Difficult Beauty Podcast. When I'm not teaching or podcasting, I am taking naps, eating yummy food, or working out.

SunAh moderating the Geographies of Kinship talk at KAAN 2019 conference with (from L-R) Eleana Kim, PhD (Korean adoption expert), Estelle Cooke-Sampson, M.D. (featured adoptee in the film), and Deann Borshay Liem (film director).

What is your role on the Advisory Council?

Council Member and Social Media Committee Member

How did you hear about KAAN? How did you decide to get involved in the AC?

I first learned about KAAN from fellow KAD, Spencer Stevens. After attending several KAAN conferences, I knew I wanted to get involved in a more substantive way.

How many KAAN conferences have you attended?

5 consecutive KAANs - St Louis, the two in Pittsburgh, and the two in Minneapolis

What issues/topics related to adoption are you most interested in? (e.g., What types of topics have you presented on or attended at previous KAAN conferences?)

Issues of race and racism central to my teaching and research, and they have also been the focus on my KAAN presentations. I've co-presented with Shaaren Pine on a session entitled “What did you say?” which provided strategies for responding to microaggressions as well as a session on “Examining Anti-Blackness in TRA and Asian American communities.” I’ve also led a session entitled, ”‘I don't see color': Myths and Realities about Colorblindness in a Color Conscious World.”

What do you love most about the KAAN community?

I love how KAAN feels like 'home' - there is a comfort to being somewhere where you do not have to explain yourself, you can simply exist.

What a fun or random fact people might not know about you?

I do not know how to ride a bicycle and some people may say that I have “old lady” tastes in ice cream - cinnamon graham cracker, mint chocolate chip, and coffee with cream and sugar are some of my favs.

Anything else you'd like to share with the KAAN community?

I'm looking forward to meeting new folks at KAAN and staying in touch via your favorite social media site!

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