Hello everyone! This past Friday night, we hosted our 2016 APASA-ISA Alumni Mixer with the International Student Assembly at The Forum. Our current students had the opportunities to expand their networks, learn and gain mentorship from experienced alumni, and explore the possibilities in a variety of professional fields.

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I was thrilled to work on this event alongside Russell Ng, Vice President of Professional Affairs at ISA, as we featured alumni from a diverse range of fields, such as dentistry, consulting, asset management, and auditing to name a few.

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We also had several alumni who are currently challenging the underrepresentation of Asian Americans in the media and entertainment industry at companies such as Lionsgate. I am passionate about diversity and cultural awareness in the workplace, especially in entertainment. As a research assistant at Annenberg’s Media, Diversity, and Social Change Initiative, whose research investigation examines portrayals of race and gender in media to uncover the truths behind inclusion in entertainment, I quantify data, code content, and perform reliability diagnostics. Earlier this year, we published our findings of over 11,100 characters across 414 movies, television shows, and digital series. Media content plays a crucial role in how people form and view stereotypes in the real world, and our report highlights the staggering lack of diversity in the entertainment industry. Only 2% of all characters were coded lesbian, gay, or transgender, and female characters fill only 28.7% of all speaking roles in film. At least half of all cinematic, television, or streaming stories fail to portray one Asian or Asian American onscreen.

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We structured this mixer in a way for each alum to be seated with a group of students, and all of the alumni would then rotate and switch tables to meet and engage with all of the attendees. This was an amazing opportunity to show our current students where our alumni have developed and furthered their careers with purpose, and we are glad to have created an inclusive space for insightful conversations, growth, and empowerment.

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Thank you to everyone who came out to join us! We have many more events coming up throughout the school year, and we look forward to seeing you all there. I aim to continue opening doors to celebrate diversity and further cultural awareness, and I hope you all can join me in this exciting journey. Fight on!

Best, Dennis Woo External Community Chair