Board Of Directors

Rattana Yeang

Rattana Yeang is the Chair of the SEARAC board. Rattana graduated in 2006 from the University of California, Riverside with a BA in both History and Ethnic Studies. After college, he volunteered with Global Youth Connect: a small organization based out of New York that brought American college students to Cambodia to learn about issues related to human rights. Currently, Rattana works as a Data Analyst in the Department of Research, Assessment, and Data at Oakland Unified School District. In addition to his role as the chair of the Resource Development committee with the SEARAC Board, Rattana also works with the Asian Pacific Advisory Council to promote involvement of Asian and Pacific Islander communities with the Oakland Museum of California.

Catherina Nou

Catherina Nou is the Vice Chair of the SEARAC board. Cat is the District Director for California State Assemblymember Mariko Yamada where she is responsible for managing district office staff, connecting constituents with State resources, and responding to constituent needs. She provides reports and recommendations to the Assemblymember and Chief of Staff based upon her active engagement with community members. Previously, Catherina served as a Legislative Aide for Assemblymember Yamada in the State Capitol and was responsible for bills pertaining to education, utilities and commerce, business and professions, and veterans’ affairs.

Prior to joining Assemblymember Yamada’s office, Catherina worked as the California Policy Advocate with the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) where she focused on policies impacting Southeast Asian American communities in California. She graduated from University of California, Davis with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Asian American Studies. Catherina also holds a Master of Arts degree in Education with an emphasis in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Sacramento State.

Catherina is the sister and daughter of refugees from Cambodia. Her family arrived in the United States in 1982 and settled in Modesto, California where she was born and raised. She actively volunteers with Khmer Youth of Modesto (KYOM), a community based organization focused on youth engagement. Catherina credits her parents for her desire to give back to the community and to serve others with compassion and respect.

Cynthia Brothers

Cynthia Brothers is currently a program consultant with the Four Freedoms Fund (FFF) at Public Interest Projects (PIP), a national collaborative fund supporting immigrant rights, civic engagement and integration. Recently, she’s also worked with !!PI online organizing group 18 Million Rising as editor and campaign strategist, helped coordinate arts and cultural organizing strategies in the immigrant rights movement for The Culture Group and CultureStrike, and was agenda development lead for the 2013 National Immigrant Integration Conference. Cynthia is the current managing blog editor and a social media editor for Hyphen, an all-volunteer Asian American print and online media publication. 

Cynthia has also worked and volunteered for nonprofits and government agencies around Section 203 AAPI voting and language access, tutoring and mentorship for low-income immigrant students, mental health research, and food stamps outreach. She's performed in the U.S., Mexico, and South Africa with the Tribes Project, a race-education arts collaborative. Cynthia holds a master’s degree in public administration from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, and co-founded the Asian Pacific American Student Alliance (APASA), NYU Wagner’s first AAPI student group. She's from Seattle and admits to clichés such as playing in bands and once making espresso drinks for a living – but is proud she went to the high school where Bruce Lee first demonstrated his famous “one-inch punch.”

Nerou Cheng

Born in Cambodia, Nerou Cheng founded NCheng LLP In New York City in 1989, which has grown to an 80 person accounting and consulting firm. Nerou has over 30 years of experience in public accounting dedicated exclusively to serving the not-for profit sector. He has provided invaluable services in financial statements audits and advisory services to several not-for-profit clients in areas such as financial management and reporting, internal controls, governance, and regulatory compliance.

Nerou has an MBA from Ball State University and a BSBA from Georgetown University. He also holds a Certificate in Public Accounting from Pace University. Nerou is vice-chair of the board of Friends Without A Boarder, and is an active board member of Friends of Khmer Culture, two NGOs doing work in Cambodia.

Sophal Ear, Ph.D.

Sophal Ear, Ph.D., is a tenured Associate Professor of Diplomacy & World Affairs at Occidental College in Los Angeles. He has taught political economy and how to rebuild countries after wars at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and international development policy at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.

Prior to academe, Dr. Ear consulted for the World Bank, was Assistant Resident Representative for the United Nations Development Programme in East Timor, and Advisor to Cambodia's first private equity fund Leopard Capital. A TED Fellow, Fulbright Specialist, Delphi Fellow of BigThink, Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, and Fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar, he is a Trustee of the Nathan Cummings Foundation and Partners for Development, and on the Board of Directors of the Southeast Asia Development Program.

Dr. Ear is Vice-Chair of Diagnostic Microbiology Development Program, a non-profit that builds laboratory capacity in the developing world. He advises the Faculty of Development Studies at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, and serves on the Boards of the Journal of International Relations and Development (Palgrave), the International Public Management Journal (Taylor & Francis), the Journal of South-East Asian American Education & Advancement (University of Texas), and Politics and the Life Sciences (Allen Press). He is the author of Aid Dependence in Cambodia: How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy (Columbia University Press, 2013, and co-author of The Hungry Dragon: How China’s Resources Quest is Reshaping the World (Routledge, 2013, He wrote and narrated the award-winning documentary film "The End/Beginning: Cambodia" (47 minutes, 2011, news blurb based on his 2009 TED Talk ( and has appeared in several other documentaries. A graduate of Princeton and Berkeley, he moved to the United States from France as a Cambodian refugee at the age of 10.