CALAA Founders

Sokunthary Svay

Monica Sok

Joan Chun

Moniphal Bing

Soksreinith Ten

Tararith Kho

Bunrith E. Sath

Ida Keovimean Borin

Peuo Tuy


Board Members

CALAA's Board of Directors President,  SANARY PHEN,  brings with her 12+ years of experience working in social services. She is currently employed with Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc. where she works closely with Cambodian elders in the Merrimack Valley region. Sanary received her education through the Lowell Public Schools and is currently working towards her LSW. Born in a refugee camp in Chonburi, Thailand in 1980, Sanary and her family immigrated to the United States in 1981 where she grew up in Lowell, MA and where she currently resides. Joining CALAA has renewed her passion for writing and has allowed her to empower and educate others in her community about the healing power of literary arts.

CALAA's Board of Directors President, SANARY PHEN, brings with her 12+ years of experience working in social services. She is currently employed with Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc. where she works closely with Cambodian elders in the Merrimack Valley region. Sanary received her education through the Lowell Public Schools and is currently working towards her LSW. Born in a refugee camp in Chonburi, Thailand in 1980, Sanary and her family immigrated to the United States in 1981 where she grew up in Lowell, MA and where she currently resides. Joining CALAA has renewed her passion for writing and has allowed her to empower and educate others in her community about the healing power of literary arts.

SOPOLINE TENG  emigrated from Cambodia to Lowell, Massachusetts when she was four years old. She later re-located to Connecticut for college and has since settled there with her husband and three daughters. She obtained her MBA of Finance from Sacred Heart University and has been working in finance and accounting for fifteen years. She is excited to have the opportunity to work for the Cambodian-American community in her hometown as Treasurer of the Cambodian American Literary Arts Association (CALAA). In her free time, Sopoline enjoys cooking, decorating, reading, and hanging out at the beach.

SOPOLINE TENG emigrated from Cambodia to Lowell, Massachusetts when she was four years old. She later re-located to Connecticut for college and has since settled there with her husband and three daughters. She obtained her MBA of Finance from Sacred Heart University and has been working in finance and accounting for fifteen years. She is excited to have the opportunity to work for the Cambodian-American community in her hometown as Treasurer of the Cambodian American Literary Arts Association (CALAA). In her free time, Sopoline enjoys cooking, decorating, reading, and hanging out at the beach.

LAURA LY  currently serves on CALAA’s Executive Board as a Director, a role in which she collaborates and shares insights with the Board in order to fulfill the mission of the association. She is originally from Connecticut, but currently lives and works as a journalist in New York City; and is a News Editor and Week- end Assignment Desk Manager for CNN’s New York Bureau. Laura graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor's Degree in Urban Studies. She wrote her undergraduate thesis on ethnic communities in post-industrial cities and spent time interviewing Cambodian-American community members in Lowell, Massachusetts as part of her research. In her free time, Laura enjoys traveling (and writing about her travels!), painting, going for runs around her neighborhood of Astoria, Queens, and learning how to cook Khmer food.

LAURA LY currently serves on CALAA’s Executive Board as a Director, a role in which she collaborates and shares insights with the Board in order to fulfill the mission of the association. She is originally from Connecticut, but currently lives and works as a journalist in New York City; and is a News Editor and Week- end Assignment Desk Manager for CNN’s New York Bureau. Laura graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor's Degree in Urban Studies. She wrote her undergraduate thesis on ethnic communities in post-industrial cities and spent time interviewing Cambodian-American community members in Lowell, Massachusetts as part of her research. In her free time, Laura enjoys traveling (and writing about her travels!), painting, going for runs around her neighborhood of Astoria, Queens, and learning how to cook Khmer food.

LENA SARUNN  is a second-generation immigrant. Both of her parents are from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She was born and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts. Lena obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She is currently finishing up her program for a Master in Business Administration. Lena is also an Adult Protective Services social worker for a non-profit organization. She investigates reports of abuse towards elders ages 60 and above. She is excited to be on the board of CALAA where she can make a contribution to better serve her community.

LENA SARUNN is a second-generation immigrant. Both of her parents are from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She was born and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts. Lena obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She is currently finishing up her program for a Master in Business Administration. Lena is also an Adult Protective Services social worker for a non-profit organization. She investigates reports of abuse towards elders ages 60 and above. She is excited to be on the board of CALAA where she can make a contribution to better serve her community.

A native of Cambodia,  SOVICHETH BOUN, PhD,  is an Assistant Professor of English as a Second Language and Literacy at Salem State University. He has been involved in English language teaching and education for language minority students both in the U.S. and Cambodia for over 15 years. His areas of expertise include language education (ESL/EFL/TESOL), bilingual education, language teacher education, sociolinguistics and (English) linguistics. He enjoys meeting new people, volunteering, travelling, exploring nature and outdoor activities.

A native of Cambodia, SOVICHETH BOUN, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of English as a Second Language and Literacy at Salem State University. He has been involved in English language teaching and education for language minority students both in the U.S. and Cambodia for over 15 years. His areas of expertise include language education (ESL/EFL/TESOL), bilingual education, language teacher education, sociolinguistics and (English) linguistics. He enjoys meeting new people, volunteering, travelling, exploring nature and outdoor activities.

CHRIS A. MILLER  is an operations improvement consultant with more than 30 years of experience in leadership and change management in both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. In working with clients, Chris compassionately supports organizations in reducing the gap between its stated desire for justice, equity and inclusion and its operational reality. He has a B.A. in Social Work from Purdue University and an M.B.A. from Boston College. In his free time, Chris is a fitness fanatic and camping enthusiast.

CHRIS A. MILLER is an operations improvement consultant with more than 30 years of experience in leadership and change management in both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. In working with clients, Chris compassionately supports organizations in reducing the gap between its stated desire for justice, equity and inclusion and its operational reality. He has a B.A. in Social Work from Purdue University and an M.B.A. from Boston College. In his free time, Chris is a fitness fanatic and camping enthusiast.


Meet the Staff

TARARITH   KHO  is a Cambodian author and poet, who has been working earnestly to revive Cambodian literature by establishing two literary associations in Cambodia: Nou Hach Journal and Sower Association. He is also a founder of PEN Cambodia. Kho Tararith got a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Royal University of Phnom Penh (1999) and a Master Degree in political science from Chomreoun Poly-technique University in Phnom Penh (2004), Cambodia. Over the years, Kho Tararith was working as a writer and media reporter for a local radio station and producing some substantial literary works including Ashamed (2012), Red Print (2010), Regretful (2009), Khmer Nigeria (Poetry collection, 2011), The Cage (a poem, 2008), Culture Shouldn’t Stay Alone (2006), Lesson of Life (1998). In recent years, Kho Tararith has been awarded a literary scholarship as a fellow at Brown University and then Harvard. He is a founding member and the workshop instructor/educator of the Cambodian American Literary Arts Association. .

TARARITH KHO is a Cambodian author and poet, who has been working earnestly to revive Cambodian literature by establishing two literary associations in Cambodia: Nou Hach Journal and Sower Association. He is also a founder of PEN Cambodia. Kho Tararith got a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Royal University of Phnom Penh (1999) and a Master Degree in political science from Chomreoun Poly-technique University in Phnom Penh (2004), Cambodia. Over the years, Kho Tararith was working as a writer and media reporter for a local radio station and producing some substantial literary works including Ashamed (2012), Red Print (2010), Regretful (2009), Khmer Nigeria (Poetry collection, 2011), The Cage (a poem, 2008), Culture Shouldn’t Stay Alone (2006), Lesson of Life (1998). In recent years, Kho Tararith has been awarded a literary scholarship as a fellow at Brown University and then Harvard. He is a founding member and the workshop instructor/educator of the Cambodian American Literary Arts Association. .

JOAN CHUN  was born in St. Petersburg, Florida and grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts. She currently serves as a board member for the Clemente Park Committee and has served on the board as a volunteer coordinator for the Lowell Southeast Asian Water Festival. Joan moved to Pueblo, Colorado in 2016 but still helps with planning the annual Khmer New Year celebration at Clemente Park in Lowell. She currently works as an Operations Representative. She is dedicated to preserving Southeast Asian culture in the United States and to helping Cambodian-Americans who are struggling with their bi-cultural identity to learn about their history and culture for better understanding of themselves. Joan believes that the Cambodian American Literary Arts Association (CALAA) is an important way for Cambodians and Cambodian-Americans to connect through literature to address issues that affect the community. She is a founding member and the Social Media and Outreach Coordinator of CALAA. In her spare time, she loves to travel and to spend time with her family, friends, and pets.

JOAN CHUN was born in St. Petersburg, Florida and grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts. She currently serves as a board member for the Clemente Park Committee and has served on the board as a volunteer coordinator for the Lowell Southeast Asian Water Festival. Joan moved to Pueblo, Colorado in 2016 but still helps with planning the annual Khmer New Year celebration at Clemente Park in Lowell. She currently works as an Operations Representative. She is dedicated to preserving Southeast Asian culture in the United States and to helping Cambodian-Americans who are struggling with their bi-cultural identity to learn about their history and culture for better understanding of themselves. Joan believes that the Cambodian American Literary Arts Association (CALAA) is an important way for Cambodians and Cambodian-Americans to connect through literature to address issues that affect the community. She is a founding member and the Social Media and Outreach Coordinator of CALAA. In her spare time, she loves to travel and to spend time with her family, friends, and pets.

MONIPHAL BING  was   born and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts. Bing obtained his Bachelor’s degree in English – Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. For four years, Bing was a member of a student organization called the Cambodian-American Student Association, and coordinated events on campus. He was a Volunteer Coordinator and Board Member for the Lowell Southeast Asian Water Festival, in which he was also the front rower for the Angkorian Warrior during the Dragon Boat race competition. For two years, he volunteered for the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association for their Young Professional Program, which gave college students preparation for resumes, job interviews, and networking. Bing was an intern for KhmerPost USA as a news reporter. He studied abroad in Cambodia during the summer to conduct research about job markets and youth after they have finished college. Bing resides in Seattle, WA. His favorite author is Toni Morrison. Bing is a founding member of the Cambodian American Literary Arts Association.

MONIPHAL BING was born and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts. Bing obtained his Bachelor’s degree in English – Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. For four years, Bing was a member of a student organization called the Cambodian-American Student Association, and coordinated events on campus. He was a Volunteer Coordinator and Board Member for the Lowell Southeast Asian Water Festival, in which he was also the front rower for the Angkorian Warrior during the Dragon Boat race competition. For two years, he volunteered for the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association for their Young Professional Program, which gave college students preparation for resumes, job interviews, and networking. Bing was an intern for KhmerPost USA as a news reporter. He studied abroad in Cambodia during the summer to conduct research about job markets and youth after they have finished college. Bing resides in Seattle, WA. His favorite author is Toni Morrison. Bing is a founding member of the Cambodian American Literary Arts Association.

PEUO TUY  was born during the Cambodian genocide. She is a spoken word poet, writing workshop instructor, and community organizer. Her poetry collection,  Khmer Girl  (2014), is inspired by the traumas of her life, including her family escaping the killing fields of their native Cambodia. Her work has appeared in  Art Paper s (2016), WHYY (2017), and  Poets Network & Exchange  magazine (2017), Lao American Review (2017), Sahtu Press (2017), LAOMAGINATION (2017). Peuo Tuy has appeared as a guest speaker at Harvard Law School, the Massachusetts State House, The Big Read/Miami Book Fair, the 2017 Minnesota Fringe Festival, New York Foundation for the Arts, as well as various junior high schools and high schools on the east coast. She is the 2018 finalist for the Jerome Foundation in spoken word, received an honorable mention for the McKnight Foundation in 2018, recipient of the 2018-2019 Florida Literary Arts Coalition Book Tour, and is the 2019 recipient of the Critical Refugees Collective Studies Grant. Peuo is a founding member and the Executive Director of the Cambodian American Literary Arts Association.

PEUO TUY was born during the Cambodian genocide. She is a spoken word poet, writing workshop instructor, and community organizer. Her poetry collection, Khmer Girl (2014), is inspired by the traumas of her life, including her family escaping the killing fields of their native Cambodia. Her work has appeared in Art Papers (2016), WHYY (2017), and Poets Network & Exchange magazine (2017), Lao American Review (2017), Sahtu Press (2017), LAOMAGINATION (2017). Peuo Tuy has appeared as a guest speaker at Harvard Law School, the Massachusetts State House, The Big Read/Miami Book Fair, the 2017 Minnesota Fringe Festival, New York Foundation for the Arts, as well as various junior high schools and high schools on the east coast. She is the 2018 finalist for the Jerome Foundation in spoken word, received an honorable mention for the McKnight Foundation in 2018, recipient of the 2018-2019 Florida Literary Arts Coalition Book Tour, and is the 2019 recipient of the Critical Refugees Collective Studies Grant. Peuo is a founding member and the Executive Director of the Cambodian American Literary Arts Association.

BRAD DEMATTEO  is an ethnomusicologist specializing in 1960s-1975 Khmer popular music as a form of cultural memory and heritage. He became interested in Cambodian music as an undergraduate in 2010 and in 2019 completed a Master's Thesis at Tufts University called " Flowing water makes me never forget : Memories of Khmer Pop Music in the Cambodian American Diaspora". His research brought him to Phnom Penh and primarily Lowell, where he studied Khmer and became close with the community. Brad volunteers with CALAA in a number of different areas, but is especially involved as a  committee member for The Stilt House zine.

BRAD DEMATTEO is an ethnomusicologist specializing in 1960s-1975 Khmer popular music as a form of cultural memory and heritage. He became interested in Cambodian music as an undergraduate in 2010 and in 2019 completed a Master's Thesis at Tufts University called "Flowing water makes me never forget: Memories of Khmer Pop Music in the Cambodian American Diaspora". His research brought him to Phnom Penh and primarily Lowell, where he studied Khmer and became close with the community. Brad volunteers with CALAA in a number of different areas, but is especially involved as a committee member for The Stilt House zine.