As part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we're spotlighting Pacific Island culture and heritage. This segment introduces us to Ree Dolnick, an Asian American who as founder and CEO of Jeca Energy Bars truly celebrates her bicultural identity.

“I mean, this is the American dream. If you want it, you can do it,” Dolnick said.

She immigrated to the United States at a young age for educational and economic opportunities. Her parents came to the U.S. from South Korea to provide her with opportunities to grow.

“I mean, they really set the foundation for hard work and learning about how to succeed, learning about food, learning about family,” Dolnick said.

She attributed her successes to food and family, and shared how they helped bring Jeca Energy Bars to life. 

A company that celebrates adventurous Asian flavors in everyday energy bars, Dolnick literally picked the ingredients out of her pantry.

“So, I'm always combining things. It's like a home chemistry lab for me,” she said. “These bars are real food, meant to be convenient for the time when you can't sit down for a really home-cooked meal. But it’s going to give you the nutrition that you're going to need to carry you over to those times.”

The bars feature rich Asian flavors like matcha, coconut, curry and more.

“There’s a lot of love and care put into the production of these bars,” Dolnick said.

She feels that she’s making her Korean roots proud.

“You know, those flavor profiles that I've been eating my entire life of certain spices coming together for certain flavor, for an experience. So that all comes together in these in these bars,” Dolnick said.

She’s reminded of how far the Asian Arican community has come, regardless of the repeated question.

“'Where are you from?'" Dolnick said. "That is something that we're never going to overcome. That, we need to accept, but we also need to accept it with grace, knowing that we're immigrants and we're integrating into this society, really embracing what's good about the Korean culture and embracing what's really wonderful in the American culture.”