Susan H. Kamei is a lecturer at the University of Southern California in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences Department of History, teaching a course on the legal ramifications of the World War II incarceration of persons of Japanese ancestry and how those constitutional issues apply to today's considerations of national security and civil liberties. Her course was featured in the Los Angeles Times on February 19, 2018. For her teaching and other ways in which she works with USC students, Kamei received the 2018 USC Undergraduate Student Government Community Achievement Award, recognizing her contributions to the USC community and for enriching the educations of students of color and/or LGBTQ students.
She served as national deputy legal counsel and a member of the Japanese American Citizens League legislative strategy team which was successful in passing federal legislation apologizing for the wartime incarceration and providing token reparatory payments to the survivors. Kamei is the author of "When Can I Go Back to America: Voices of Japanese American Incarceration during World War II" (Simon & Schuster September 2021).
Kamei also is the managing director of the Spatial Sciences Institute housed in USC Dornsife. She directs the Institute's strategic initiatives and its daily administration, including external relations and the development and operations of the Institute's undergraduate and graduate academic programs. She has held other executive positions at USC, including associate dean for advanced and professional programs; director of USC Dornsife’s Master of Liberal Studies Program; and executive officer of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate. Kamei also was senior vice president for global exchange and executive director, Los Angeles District Council, of the Urban Land Institute. She practiced corporate, real estate, and land use law, serving as regional counsel for Mobil Land Development Corporation and with the international law firm of Paul Hastings.
Kamei was recognized for her leadership and service in business, academia, and the community with the “Woman of Courage” Award in 2000 from the Friends of the Los Angeles City Commission on the Status of Women. She is an alumna of the HERS Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration (2009) and Leadership California (2005).