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APASA Winter Formal 2016

Hello wonderful readers, What’s the latest and newest with APASA? Last week, APASA had one of their signature events, Winter Formal! The theme this year was Red Carpet, and everyone came decked out in their most stylish suits and gowns. TCC Ballroom had never seen so much glamour and so many star-quality people.

The night started with a walk down the red carpet, and after, guests were given the VIP treatment. There were never-ending free snacks including sushi, popcorn, and Herbert’s Lemonade. The bountiful chocolate fountain was also a big hit with party-goers. To compliment the snacks were fancy mocktails, which included exciting drinks such as Shirley Temple, Mockmosa, and Orange Berry Sunrise.

Guests then had a mini photo-shoot with polaroids provided by SEC and photobooth pictures provided by QUASA and WSA. People also danced the night away to jams spun by the live DJ. It was certainly fun to watch glamorously dressed people bust out their favorite moves.

This collaboration event between APASA and all the different assemblies was a great last big event to cap off the semester. Attendees donned their most fabulous outfits and danced away the stress of school. Overall, a great time was had by all.


Asian Thanksgiving Blog Post

Hello Trojans! With midterms wrapping up and the temperature cooling down everywhere except for LA, we all know what time of year is approaching—holiday season! And finals… but before we face the dreadful end of the semester, we have Thanksgiving to look forward to.

Having grown up in a Chinese American household, I spent my childhood Thanksgivings eating hot pot and my dad’s special salted duck dish. While I’ll be spending my Thanksgiving this year with an all-American turkey dinner, here are some recipes for my favorite Asian dishes should you decide to celebrate Thanksgiving the Asian American way:

Chinese Sausage Carbonara: Red Bean Buns:

Tea Eggs: Turkey Dumplings:

Vegetable and Noodle Salad with Ponzu Dressing: Happy holidays!

Best, Aimee

2016 Election

Dear reader, My original topic for this article was “Best Affordable Sushi Restaurants in LA.” But with recent events, I felt the need to voice my opinion as an APA and as a US citizen.

When it started to become alarmingly clear during Tuesday’s elections that it wouldn’t be Donald Trump stepping up to the podium to concede, but Hilary Clinton, my initial reaction was utter disbelief. I could not wrap my head around the fact that we had elected a xenophobic, misogynistic, racist, uneducated, and hypocritical sexual predator to the most important office in America.

Trump becoming president had always been such an irrelevant issue, something most took as a joke. But Tuesday night, the unthinkable became reality.

It’s shocking and deeply disheartening that for the next four years, this man who is against everything America stands for, our ideals and beliefs that make our country so individualistically great, will be making executive decisions for us all. I’ve never been very invested in politics, but just by having eyes and ears it is clear as day to me that Trump is neither suited nor deserving to be America’s president. Yet he now has the power to bring America back 50 years, with his bigoted anti-LGBT views, disdain for racial minorities, complete lack of respect for women, and inability to take others’ standpoints into consideration.

We are already beginning to see the repercussions of Trump’s ascension to presidency. The racism that so many of us had thought had simmered down is rising back to the surface: fellow Asian American students at USC being called “chinks,” people of color being told to go back home, when to them home is America, Muslim parents telling their children not to wear a hijab, a woman being sexually harassed by a group of boys yelling “Grab her by the pussy!”. My heart aches with pain and anger when I hear of these acts of idiocy, these uneducated imbeciles thinking that their racist acts are suddenly justifiable because of the change in presidency.

But one shed of light I could find from this election was the increased presence of the Asian American community in the electorate. Because of Trump and his ridicule-inducing behaviors, our community has realigned in political allegiance, as more and more of us are identifying as Democrats.

Asian Americans are still a minority in America, but we are the most quickly growing, both politically and economically, out of all others. We still have much to work on, such as our under-representation in Hollywood, but overall we have made so much progress—progress that other minorities have not yet been able to make. Now that we have gained privilege, we must use it to help the less privileged. Protect those that can’t protect themselves. Help those that will be facing consequences of this election much deeper and horrific than ours. Support one another, care for one another, love one another.

Above all, remember that we the people are what matter most. We control our own cultural contexts. We make the difference in the lives of our friends, our neighbors, and our community. We exercised our right to vote, and now we must exercise our right to have a voice. So be brave, speak out, and fight on.

Best, Yunji Lee

2016 APASA-ISA Alumni Mixer

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.



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.


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.


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.


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

APASA Night Market 2016

14787633_1114474178587989_1118613717_o Hi fellow Trojans! My name is Stefanie Kuizon and I’m serving as this year’s APASA Communications Director. Quite a step up from interning last year.

Hopefully, assuming you weren’t off to Dance Off retreat, you were here on campus this past Friday night celebrating with APASA at our annual Night Market held at McCarthy Quad. For the fall semester, this is one of our biggest if not the biggest event. We welcome all students to come join us as we have a taste of some Asian delicacies, enjoy amazing student performances, and play traditional, cultural games.

Modeled after the infamous night markets that exist throughout Asia, our night market aims to bring a similar experience of strolling down the streets to USC students. Of course, the major difference we have is currency – using tickets instead of money because let’s face it, college students are more or less short on cash these days.

An even greater incentive to participate in the festivities was our amazingly cute and practical prizes. It was simple. You sign in to the event, you get a ticket. You play games, you get tickets. Now you walk over to the prize booth and trade them in for your choice of prize. As usual we had a lovely collection of Tsum Tsums along with mugs, chicken cups, pens, notebooks, fans, and cup of noodles. There was even APASA gear such as tote bags, stress balls, and water bottles so you (our fellow APASA fans) could rep us. From what I heard one person actually exchanged 20 tickets for 20 stress balls to throw at his roommate.


Personally though, my favorite part about night market isn’t the food, deserts (but damn that shaved ice was good!), games, or prizes. It’s the performances. We got to experience first hand the movements of Hawaii Club, TCD, and Bhangra and hear the melodies of Haneulsori, Leo Xia, Doji, and Maxwell + Andrew. The energy was truly there that night as we came together as a Trojan family to enjoy the night. I hope you all had an amazing time at this year’s night market and I can’t wait to see you at our next big APASA event.


Destress with ACA, APASA, and ISA!

Hi everyone! I hope everyone is doing alright amidst the dreaded midterm season!

Midterms can be one of the greatest stressors in a college student’s life, especially if those exams hit all at once, but some were able to find ways to combat their stressors.

Despite many of us having less than the recommended amount for sleep and bags under our eyes, about 100 students joined us for Destress with ACA, APASA, and ISA!


It was a great time for all, as many colored with great attention to detail (Shoutout to Tiffany Chen! You go girl! Your coloring was truly impressive and your number of orange colored pencils even more impressive).


We were able to forget about our worries about grades and even school in general by having a memorable time with old and new friends alike.

It was even greater because we received FREE boba from Coco’s and frozen yogurt from Yogurtland! YUM! (No uber needed!)

I think everyone who attended would agree that it was a very enjoyable time, because we all felt like kindergarteners again, except we were able to color within the lines. (Your mom would be so proud! Golden Sticker for you!)

I genuinely hope everyone had a fun time! It was such a great way to be able to spend a stressful Monday night with fellow Trojans who were experiencing similar stressors and potential mental breakdowns.

Putting the jokes aside, I hope everyone keeps going strong and continues to put their best foot forward! Remember that you are capable of so much!

Midterms can be definitely stressful but don’t forget to find ways to DESTRESS!


APASA Kickoff Concert 2016

Photo by Austin Chee Hi APASA blog readers!

My name is Thanya Chat and I’m APASA’s Marketing Director. I was an intern last year, and it’s such an honor to be serving all of you this year on the executive board.

This past Friday night, APASA hosted our second annual Kickoff Concert in EF Hutton Park. This was our first event where we had the help of our 11 incredible new interns, and I have to say it was a ton of fun.

As a minor shift from last year’s concert, we chose to focus this year on showcasing the talents of USC student performers rather than bring in outside artists. However, the quality was undeniably still on par with the professionals, bringing pleasant beats and sounds to the center of University Campus.

Every blanket on the lawn was full as students came to enjoy musical performances from Kazan Taiko, Carrie Zhang, Leo Xia, Jackie Faye, and Doji, as well as enjoy complimentary food from Simpang Asia.

Following the concert, APASA Executive Director Sarah Kim and Events Coordinator Michelle Su also facilitated an incredibly in-depth Q&A, where the artists revealed how they got involved with music, challenges they have faced over the years, and advice they have for budding performers, among other things.

Overall, the event was successful in bringing a good number of students together for an evening of fantastic music, free food, and fun times. And truly, it was a great kickoff to another amazing year of APASA.

Thanya Chat Marketing Director

Photo by Justin Yang

Photo by Justin Yang

Photo by Justin Yang

APA Leaders 2016: Meet Jacky Chen

As always, we hope you all had a great weekend, and what better way to start off a week than with APA Leaders with our last but not least APA Leader for 2016, Jacky Chen! Jacky Chen's a leader and role model to the community. He has been a CIRCLE TA and an intern at the Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center. Find out more about Jacky in the interview below: Name: Jacky Chen Major: Electrical Engineering Year: Senior Hometown: Phoenix, AZ

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What does being APA mean to you?

Being APA meant next to nothing to me before USC. It’s not that I was ashamed of it; it’s just that I never really learned about it. I was born and raised in Phoenix and always attended schools where the majority was Hispanic or White. My high school was 2% Asian, my best friend is white, and so I always just thought of myself as American. My brothers and I fit in pretty well. We were some of the most well-known students in our high school of over 2000. One brother finished 3rd at Freshman State for wrestling and was nominated for Homecoming Court. Another one played on the basketball team, which had recently won a state championship. I was known for dancing hip hop and won voted as “Most likely to become a Billionaire”. We were known as the “Chen Dynasty” and our peers viewed and respected us as individuals. However, that changed when I came to USC.

The USC social environment forced the label of APA onto me and it came as an absolute shock. Before school even started, at band camp, I had my first racist experience where a fellow freshman trombone only invited the non-Asians to hang out at their house. During the first few weeks, as I introduced my name, Jacky Chen, one student immediately responded with, “Wait what? Dude, that’s kind of racist,” even after I explained that it was my real name. When talking about band, an APA friend told me that he could not see an Asian Drum Major representing USC within the next 40 years because of race. Later in the year, I was eating lunch in the dining hall with my white, frat friend when his friends came over and gave him a weird, almost confused glance. At first, I disregarded these and other similar experiences, shrugging them off as singular incidents linked only to the decisions of a few individuals. However, as freshman year came and went and the lone events changed to an evidence-backed trend, I began to realize just how real and deep this racism was. People didn’t even realize it existed because, unless they tried to be more aware, it was the default setting.

I think a lot of individual Asians Americans (and other minorities) realize that there is power that comes with being white and they see that the easiest and quickest way to gain that power is to become white-washed, trading a part of their identity for power. This is illustrated by an experience where I was hanging out with a friend who happened to be a white female. A little while later, an Asian American male, who was her friend, joined us. Later that night, after she had left, the friend, who was drunk, began talking to me and saying how hard it was. At first, I was confused. Then, he elaborated, “It’s so hard to date a white girl as an Asian guy. In high school, it took years for me to break into a white friend group and become able to date white girls.” As he said, a lot of time and effort is required to become recognized as “white”. Without really understanding what is being traded, it can seem like a great, easily justifiable deal. But once that “status” is attained, it is understood to be precious and must be defended and maintained, justifying disassociating oneself from the people of the same race, who might inadvertently strip that whiteness away. This builds on top of the, already existent, societal racism creating a rejection of one’s own race and tearing apart the APA community.

Only in the past few years have I begun to really recognize the APA identity. Even though it was forced on me, I wear it proudly. I’ve always strived to live honestly and I’ve realized that if I want to do that without any strategic disadvantages, I’ll have to create a world where I can be myself unapologetically. That’s exactly what I intend to do. I’ve always surprised the people that get the chance to know me. This time, I’ll have to do things big enough that the whole world will have to turn and watch. I look forward to the day that happens, when the world must stands there, awestruck and surprised. In the fighting words of Muhammad Ali, “I’m gonna show you how great I am!”

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Explain in detail your involvement in the Asian Pacific American community on and off campus.

The majority of my involvement at USC has not been specifically in the APA community or the wider activist community, which is somewhat nonconforming for the APA Leader recognition. However, being non-conforming is representative of me and my story in general so I appreciate being recognized despite that. To efficiently explain what my involvements look like, I’ll list them out resume-style.

Work Experience 1. Southern California Edison, Intern 2. USC Viterbi ENGR-101, TA 3. Critical Issues in Race, Class, and Leadership (APASS CIRCLE), TA and Participant 4. Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, TA 5. Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center (Non-profit), Intern 6. Nuclear Safety Research, Researcher and writer 7. Blockwise Engineering, Intern

Extra-curricular/Leadership 1. Trojan Knights, Songfest Chair 2. First Generation College Student Conference, Planning Committee Member 3. Trojan Marching Band, Squad Leader 4. Redefining Engagement in Active Leadership (Office of Campus Activities), Coordinator 5. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (USC IEEE), Web Chair 6. ITASA West Coast Conference, Group Leader 7. Conferences/ Retreats: GLO Leadership, Posse Plus, Viterbi Trek, Advancing Justice

Volunteer Experience 1. Joint Education Program (JEP) 2. APASS PEER Mentoring Program 3. Trojan Knight Philanthropies a. Bone Marrow Drive, Spirits in Action, Swim with Mike, Knight's Carnival on Skid Row, Pumpkin Carving, Chalk the Block, Songfest Musical 4. Events a. Kicks for Kids, Friends and Neighbors Day, MESA College Day, Trojan Dance Marathon, Viterbi Ball Ticketing, Housing New Admits

Competition Experience 1. National Academy of Engineering Business Proposal Competition 2. Undergraduate Research Symposium, Researcher 3. National Academy of Engineering Video Competition, Director, Writer and Editor 4. Boeing Business Case Competition, Writer and Presenter 5. Hackathons: HackSC (USC), MHacks (Michigan), Intel IoT Hackathon, AngelHacks

Awards 1. Scholarships: Jerome Linn Scholarship, Robinson Scholarship, Phoenix Alumni Club 2. Undergraduate Research Associate's Program Grant 3. Accepted to 5 Year Master's in EE Computer Networks (Progressive Degree Program) 4. Tea with Nikias

Looking through my involvements throughout the years, only about 20% of them specifically fall into the “APA” category. I enjoyed these APA experiences a lot. However, I also spent a lot of time in different parts of USC because I hope to create a school-wide environment that provides space for people of all races and backgrounds. I think that the value of this is often overlooked because organizations at USC can be so demanding and, as a result, exclusive based on time and commitment. I want to stress the importance of trying new and different things in order to grow as an individual and increase effectiveness. Shout out to APASS’s CIRCLE program, do it if you haven’t already.

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What kind of legacy do you want to leave at USC?

I want to leave a legacy that inspires and empowers others. Growing up with four younger siblings, I have found that the best thing I’ve been able to give them is the ability to help themselves. Often times, this ability is achieved through helping them believe both in themselves and in their dreams, which can often hover between the possible and impossible. The greatest leaders throughout history, no matter their goals, have all improved the people around them. They’ve lifted up their families, communities, and even nations and, by spreading individual empowerment on massive scales, they have been able to change the world.

This type of legacy is so incredible. Not only is it effective but it is quite literally supported by happiness and good. A 75-year long Harvard study tracked thousands of people throughout their lives and showed that the main factor for someone’s happiness is the strength of their relationships. By empowering others, an individual’s relationships with those people are strengthened. My best friend has told me time and time again how grateful he is to me for helping change his life and I could not ask for a better friend to have helped shaped mine. This brings it back to the idea of helping people believe in themselves and creating good in the world. When people are empowered, their confidence and awareness also rise. Awareness leads to empathy for others and confidence helps people act to change what they do not like in the world. If they choose to help, it can easily come in the form of empowering others which perpetuates the cycle.

Tell us how you got here. How did you first get involved with the APA community?

I was originally rejected from USC. My high schools was not very good and never really sent anyone to good schools so I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started “trying” my senior year of high school. I was devastated when I was rejected by seven of the eight schools, only getting into ASU. USC was the only rejection that noted that it was possible to appeal. Even after getting in, I wasn’t sure if I’d be going here. My late acceptance offer meant I got my financial aid package in July. By that time, it seemed like all the aid money was gone because that first year deal was terrible. Despite that, my dad had me attend freshman orientation and, there, I met two amazing people who convinced me that USC was worth it. One directed USC’s Political Student Assembly and the other received the APA leader nomination last year. So that’s how I got here.

I first got involved in the APA community by participating in CIRCLE during my first semester. I thought it was a good program but also felt relatively disconnected from most of my fellow participants who I honestly couldn’t relate to. A theme that I have felt at USC is that, for the first time, I’ve been surrounded by people that look like me but almost no one who is actually like me or comes from a background like mine, and that theme was felt in CIRCLE as well. I didn’t even attend the retreat at the end, partly because I chose to go to the USC vs. UCLA game with the marching band instead. Jonathan Wang was a big part of why I continued to participate in the community. I remember running into him on Trousdale and being encouraged to apply for the TIE internship. Andy Su was also very encouraging and he was a fellow trombone in the marching band so that helped. A few amazing people and little things like that gave me a reason to continue participating in the APA community, discover more of myself, and eventually become someone that can help others in the community. I’ve always sought out great people above all else. Even if I am unsure of what the next step will be, putting myself with great people has always been the right move. Great people convinced me to come to USC, welcomed me into these communities, and encouraged me to empower myself.

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What would be one change you would like to see at USC? In the APA community?

This question really ties into the legacy of empowerment. The first part was helping people believe in themselves and the second is helping them believe in their dreams. Dreams are often already difficult to achieve but the challenges become that much harder when reality hits you with things like racism and sexism. Therefore, I would like to see the social environment of USC become a place where, in each social interaction, people judge and treat each other as individuals, defined by real actions, rather than stereotypes. This would help both sides. It is not prudent to treat people based on preconceived notions that have no basis in the individual so this environment would teach “judgers” how to effectively interact with others. As the “judged”, it is disempowering and exhausting to always have to carry the weight of stereotypes. Often, before they can be accepted as a “normal”, “square one” human being, the judged must prove that the stereotypes do not apply to themselves. This ties into the motivation for why people want to be whitewashed, because it empowers them to be anything without being tied to a specific race, and why minorities often choose to hang out with members of their own race because they are not judged as much. By spreading this mindset to all individuals at USC, we enable everyone to be comfortable being themselves which is so basic but important.

I mention this issue of identity and stereotypes because I think it has a huge effect on the APA community but it is often not recognized in general society. We are scapegoated as the model minority, used as a tool to point blame at other minority groups. This damages solidarity in the minority community. Population wise, we are smaller than some of the other minority groups. We are also newer and have had less time to create connections in society. Many Asian countries have gone through wars and turmoil in the past few decades. We don’t have Black Pride or native ties to the Americas and there is a lack of a strong voice in the APA community. Our group, in general, is stereotyped as submissive, socially awkward, lacking power, and more feminine and less masculine. In my life time, Chinese has gone from a language that my parents did not want me to learn to a language that is highly valued by society.

During my freshman year, I had the chance to get a book signed by David Henry Hwang, a celebrated playwright. In the brief seconds that we chatted, I mentioned that I thought it was cool that he was doing a piece on Bruce Lee and Asian masculinity and he responded with, “Yeah, it’s hard being an Asian guy.” At the time, it seemed like a funny statement for him to make but, over the years, I’ve seen how true that is. Between an Asian male friend that had been adopted by white parents, loudly repeating to me, “Dude, I’m not Asian,” and more violent events such as one Asian American yelling Asian slurs and throwing raw eggs at another Asian or the Santa Barbara shootings committed by a half-white, half-Asian college student who struggled with his masculinity. Society’s stereotypes has created self-hatred for Asian males and I hope to see our community overcome that by bringing it back to valuing individuals as such.

APA Leader

What motivates and inspires you?

People. Amazing people. An individual’s ability to change. Humanity’s ability to change. The ability to dream and achieve well beyond one’s current situation. Great awareness, empathy, and humanity. Well-planned and well-executed decisions. Drive and fighting spirit. The future and the gems it holds. Space travel. Immortality. The people who believe in and support me. The list goes on and on but I think the things that inspires me the most are the incredible, near-impossible things that people do. My greatest motivation is achieving the “impossible” for the people who believe in my ability to do so and to set the bar as high as possible for someone like me. Achieving the impossible is a great feeling and it gives people hope. It’s almost like magic, no one expects this amazing thing to happen because they don’t think it’s possible but then it does and some of them will start to ask, “Why can’t I do that?”

I am also inspired and motivated by individuals who stand out as anomalies in society. People are largely lazy and stupid but, sometimes, certain individuals can be surprising. That’s how I choose my closest friends. I observe people and get to know them and their background. From there, I set an expectation for how great of a person they are and, there is something pretty special about the ones who can greatly exceed this expectation. So yeah, great friends and achieving the “impossible” inspire and motivate me.

There have been so many times in my life when someone older than me, who I respect, has told me something cannot be done because that’s just how it is. The thing is, we’re living in an amazing generation. If you think the past century went by fast, wait until you see what’s coming this century. The greatest marvels of humanity are before us. Young people are growing up in a world like never before, where everything is constantly changing, where people all over are becoming empowered and doing amazing things no matter what their background is. Look at politics today, someone like Bernie Sanders, who is so optimistic, almost to a fault, is getting huge amounts of support. People would’ve said that someone like him or Donald Trump could not succeed in this election. People are wrong all the time. Young people want to dream and believe in their dreams. They believe they can make them a reality. Older people are saying, no you have to take it slower because that’s not how the world works.

All money aside, what is your dream job?

I believe that we are facing an epidemic in which people don’t really know why they do the things they do in life anymore. This is already a glaring issue in college. I was having coffee with the Vice Provost of Undergraduate Programs and he told me about a book which said that so many kids in elite, higher institutions today don’t know how to live in real life. One astute friend of mine noted how boring everyone was at USC because so many of them are prepped and guided to their current situation. At Johns Hopkins’ summer program, I saw so many adults who were just dissatisfied with their lives. It’s just really sad overall and I think it comes down to the fact that people are not fully aware of why they are making decisions. They don’t own the decisions or grow from them. Life is so easy now that it is easy to get away with being lazy. I think laziness or apathy is an easy excuse but what’s laying behind it is often fear: fear of failure, fear of one’s own inability, fear of the unknown. My dream job is to solve this epidemic.

Anyone you’d like to thank or give a shoutout to?

I’d like to thank my family, especially my siblings. I’d like to thank my friends. I’d like to thank USC, its programs, and student orgs. Lastly, I’d like to invite anyone who wants to talk or become friends with me to reach out.

APA Leader-4

We would like to take this time to thank Jacky Chen and all of our other APA Leaders this year for their cooperation and their unceasing involvement in the APA community. With this, APA Leaders is coming to a close along with most of APAHF. Make sure to check out the other APA Leaders in the past blog posts and make sure to also nominate a professor that has inspired you or changed your life for Professors of Color here:

APA Leaders 2016: Meet Anthony Garciano

Hey everyone! I hope your week has been going well with midterms and all, but to de-stress you should read this week's APA Leader interview! Our 7th APA Leader is Anthony Garciano! Anthony is heavily involved in Troy Phi as the Community and Culture Chair as well as the greater Filipino community through his work in the Kaya Collaborative, where he went to the Philippines and worked with local education and social entrepreneurship organizations. Find out more about Anthony in the interview below: Name: Anthony Garciano Major: History & Social Science Education Year: Junior

APA Leader

What does being APA mean to you?

To me, being APA means the willingness to learn and unlearn, to talk and listen, and to maintain a level of conviction in the gray area. Approaching my identity in this way allows me to appreciate all the complexities and nuances afforded by my circumstances.

Explain in detail your involvement in the Asian Pacific American community on and off campus.

I’ve been a part of USC Troy Philippines (TP) since freshman year. For the past two years, I’ve taken on the role of Community and Culture Chair for TP, and, in so doing, I’ve actively exposed myself to the Filipino and Filipino American community in Los Angeles. Also, I’m involved with Kaya Collaborative (Kaya Co.), which connects Filipino diaspora college students back to the Philippines. I was a fellow for Kaya Co. last year in which I interned for an education social entrepreneurship in the Philippines, lived with community-driven, motivated, smart, (albeit ratchet) college students in the heart of Manila, and took a crash course on social change making. Throughout all of this, I’ve internalized the lessons that I’ve learned as a 1.5 generation Filipino American (as well as further defined these lessons through programs such as CIRCLE and Gateway and my own individual research on APA identity and the Filipino/ Filipino American experience), in order to better connect and humanize both identities to the members of TP.

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What advice do you have for aspiring APA leaders?

Definitely be open to different ideas, which at times conflict with each other, as well as being constantly critical to those ideas. But, at the end of the day, when you’re tired and hungry, give yourself time to eat a banana and sleep.

Why is it significant to learn about our heritage?

If we aren’t connected to our roots, how can we possibly grow? Our heritage offers us context; It offers us self-understanding. It allows us to be closer to our past; it allows us to be closer to our present communities. It acts as an agent of individuality, as well as an agent of unity. And that’s the beauty of it all.

Tell us how you got here. How did you first get involved with the APA community?

I was born in a chicken coop. Also, I lived in the island of sweet potatoes. (All of these are true. I was born in my grandmother’s chicken coop in the island of Camotes, Philippines, which translates to “sweet potatoes” in English.) So that’s how I came into this world, surrounded by chickens and sweet potatoes. But, I only got involved with the APA community once I joined Troy Philippines. And I never looked back. So I blame TP for exposing me to the greater APA community and I blame myself for sticking around.

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What motivates and inspires you?

My parents definitely act as my source of inspiration and motivation. My dad has been working 16 hours a day for nearly 20 years as a janitor, while my mom stays at home to take care of 6 kids. They are my role models; to whom I could never compare.

If you could meet anyone from the past, the present, or the future, who would you want to meet and why?

I would want to meet the first Filipino hero, Lapu Lapu. There is some controversy to where the Battle of Mactan was actually fought, which was either in the island of Cebu or Camotes (my island!!). If I could meet him, I would have the opportunity to solve one of the greatest mysteries in Filipino history, and perhaps even meet my great, great, great, great… grandfather. That would be pretty cool.

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Anyone you’d like to thank or give a shoutout to?

First and foremost, thank you to those who nominated me and APASA for this recognition.

I’d also like to thank my family for tolerating me.

My TP fam for your love and support.

The professors who’ve helped me with my research and self exploration (Dr. Kurashige, Dr. Sanchez, and Dr. Parreñas).

My best friends at USC, Krystian, Kyle, and Rachel for always being down.

My BEST friend, Aina, for knowing things about me that no one else does and for being the only person who is able harmonize with me.

AND, lastly, I’d like to thank Kobe Bryant. My hero, imaginary mentor, and god. #Neverforget.

APA Leader-4

Thanks to Anthony for the interview and all the hard work you put in for our community! Look forward to our last APA Leader coming up later this week!

USC Traditional Chinese Dance 11th Annual Showcase: Interwoven

On Saturday, March 26, 2016, USC Traditional Chinese Dance held their showcase of the year. This year the group took a more traditional approachable with their dances. USC APASA intern Aimee Xu writes more about the show.  This past Saturday, USC Traditional Chinese Dance provided the USC community with a delightful conclusion to the first week back of spring break with their 11th annual showcase, ‘Interwoven.’ The theme of TCD’s 2016 showcase focuses on their encounters with those whom have profoundly changed their lives.


The show opened with color, as the dancers in ‘Springtime’ showcased vibrant green scarves and pink and purple fans. The first half of ‘Interwoven’ featured a variety of dances, many of which incorporated both Eastern and Western elements. In ‘Against All Odds,’ the dramatic choreography by Jessica Koe bridged Chinese and Western cultures through traditional Chinese dance elements and music by Lorde. ‘Jade Dolls,’ also incorporated multiple cultures, as traditional Chinese dance met traditional Korean percussion, as performed by USC Haneulsori.



The second of half of the show featured the dramatic plot of the ancient Chinese tale, “The Cowherd and the Weaving Maiden.” The Cowherd, Thinh Nguyen, and the Weaving Maiden, Jessica Koe, fall in love, but the Ruler of Heaven, Jade Shi, forbids the two from being with one another. In ‘Battle in the Heavens,’ a dramatic fight scene featuring members of Wushu Nation ultimately concludes in the separation of the two lovers, as the Ruler of Heaven forges a river between earth and heaven. In ‘Celestial Ties,’ birds flock together to create a bridge and reunite the lovers as a romantic conclusion to ‘Interwoven.’



Thank you to all the TCD performers and USC Haneulsori and Wushu Nation! The performance was done with such grace and beauty! We look forward to your showcase next year!



Aimee Xu