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Why did you join APASA?
I joined APASA to get in touch with my culture and learn about other Asian cultures. I grew up with a lot of asian friends and in a heavily Asian area, but there are so many cultures I'm still learning about. APASA's mission to celebrate and educate through events truly brings USC together and is what attracted me to APASA.
Growing up, I was involved in a lot of cultural activities such as Chinese school, Chinese ribbon dancing, and more, which helped shape who I am today and why I love my culture so much. I joined APASA because it was the perfect way to give back to the community I grew up in, as well as introduce my culture to those who don't know about it.
I was drawn to APASA initially because of the breadth of people and cultures and identities and foods and ideas and experiences that USC has, and I wanted to be a part of that in an Asian Pacific American context. I grew up in a community where my friends at school were predominantly white, and my Asian friends were all Chinese kids at my church. I had always associated being Asian with being Chinese, but when APASA gave me a glimpse of all the beauty and diversity it really encompassed, I knew I wanted in!!
I've always wanted to be a challenger of the norm and iconic voice for the masses. My goal in life has been to be the Oprah Winfrey of all APA's by defending the values we share as a collective community, just as Oprah defended her programming from the tabloids. #Oprah2020
Simplified, I wanted to make sure APA's could speak out and expect their ideas to echo, even if I were the only listener. I wanted to be on the right side of history and be a supporter for ambitious people of color striving for equity.
I knew I wanted to get involved with the USC APA community from the beginning of my freshman year. The APASA Internship Program offers the opportunity to get a comprehensive understanding of not only the APA community, but the entire USC programming experience. I wanted to make friends that shared my interest in the APA community and who could identify with the issues I believed were pertinent. I joined APASA to find community and now am proud to be building the same for generations of students to come.
I volunteered with an Asian American non-profit back at home. I thought I knew all about being Asian American, but little did I know that I barely scratched the surface. There are so many aspects, intersectionalities, and issues pertinent to the Asian American identity that I had never thought about before and I am continuing to learn about all of those as I enter my third year in APASA.
I joined APASA in my pursuit to translate my knowledge about the Asian American community into action. For years, I've been immensely invested in learning more about how unique we are-- our culture, our struggles, and our triumphs. Through APASA, I've been able to connect with people who also feel as passionately about our narrative and are excited about being as unapologetically Asian American as I am!
I wanted to get more involved in the APA community here at USC and felt that APASA, specifically my role as co-diversity liaison, gave me a unique opportunity to get involved with multiple of our APA orgs on campus.
I was initially drawn to APASA because everyone was focused on one goal: sharing Asian American stories. Stories contain Asian Pacific American history, culture, and community and every individual in APASA is passionate about sharing APA stories. APASA provides a platform for all individuals to learn about APA culture and the diversity that defines our community. I wanted to be a part of APASA to not only share my own stories but to ensure that everyone member of the APA community has a voice to share their story and that their voice was recognized.
What was your favorite intern memory?
My favorite memory as an intern would be the night of Kickoff Concert early in the year. It was one of the first events where the artists had the opportunity to represent themselves and have a conversation about various topics concerning APA identity. It was refreshing to have had the spotlight on APA artists and it was a perfect example of a multifaceted event for students to both enjoy and think about taboo issues in the APA community.
My favorite intern memory was our snowball fight after the Bridge the Gap: Intersectionality through Art event. We had leftover ice from Justin's cooler, so a bunch of us decided to go outside Bovard Auditorium to have a snowball fight. We were also able to throw some "snowballs" at Zac, who was our Co-Recruitment Director at that time.
There are too many to choose from! One day, Justin had extra ice left from his Coca Cola sponsorship. A bunch of interns and I decided to have a snowball fight next to Tommy Trojan. Everyone eventually got in a huddle, and began shouting "interns, interns, interns", and the whole time, I couldn't help but wonder what DPS was thinking as they were watching this all go down at say, 11 pm. It was definitely one of those moments that you just want to wrap up & keep with you forever. It was awesome.
My favorite intern memory was putting on Night Market with APASA. It was a lot of work, but it was also rewarding to see so many people enjoy the event. Because it was the first event my intern class helped out with, it allowed for a lot of growth and new experiences.
My favorite intern memory was when we put on our intern event, Asia in Our Backyard. We had a bunch of different tables that focused on one APA cultural town located around Los Angeles. I was in charge of the table for Thai Town, along with another fellow intern Helen. It was so amazing seeing all our hard work pay off but also to talk and educate so many people about the different cultural towns. People were excited and got to learn about the APA demographic of Los Angeles outside of just the mainstream Koreatown and Little Tokyo!
My favorite intern memory is setting up for the night market. I loved watching it all unfold and bonding with the other interns as we put up posters and set up booths.
How did the intern program impact you?
Joining the intern program and especially APASA, I learned a lot more about intersectionality within the API experience through my peers and the discussion of popular issues we may experience presently. It really opened my eyes to how I perceive other individuals and to be more conscious of our similarities and nuanced differences.
I say this often, but I’ll say it again. Joining APASA was one of the best decisions I’ve made freshman year, like actually. Not only did I get to learn about the detailed logistics of event-planning, but I also learned more about myself! This is because as an intern, I was able to see, listen to, and participate in pressing matters (APA stereotypes, gentrification, micro-agressiosn, etc.) that I haven’t been really aware of as a high-school student. Being an intern did not mean I got less exposure to the works of APASA. I was new to the system, but APASA e-boarders tried their best so that the interns had the same level of involvement. Whether it be taking part in a networking event or getting educated about the APA exposure in media, I was able to grow as an APASA intern because my input to each event and duty was meaningful as much as any other person's input. Most importantly, my intern year wouldn’t have been as great if wasn’t for the amazing peers (especially my intern class and the e-boarders) I got to meet and work with through APASA. The “APASA fam” constantly motivated me (and still motivates me until this day) to be a passionate student leader on campus who isn’t just committed and responsible but who is also warm-hearted and accepting. All in all, I am truly grateful I got to experience such a purposeful year as an intern.
Being a part of the APASA intern program is such a great way to get to know APA organizations on campus at a higher level. Rather than joining just one organization, I got to find out what each member org does and meet people from all of them. The program also taught me a lot about managing large projects, showed me the ropes of event planning through USG, and gave me a broader sense of what it means to be an APA student on campus. The intern program introduced me to how special it is to be a part of the APA community. Even though we all come from different backgrounds, many of us have been faced with similar situations in life and it's amazing to see how that brings us together.
The intern program opened innumerable doors for me. Serving as an intern will connect you with so many different organizations on campus and introduce you to friends and leaders that will provide inspiration and mentorship for years to come. From serving as a USC Tour Guide to facilitating conversations through the Student Alumni Society, the topics that APASA addresses have prepared me to be a more engaging, aware Trojan.
The intern program fundamentally reminded me of the fact that my time is best spent with others who share similar goals. Surrounding myself with those who felt the same joy and pain for our community has inspired me to embrace the complex identity that is Asian Pacific American. My APASA intern experience has been nothing short of phenomenal -- from the people who've spent the time telling me their + their family's immigration stories to writing letters together for community organizations.
Being an APASA intern reminded me that I am so proud of the strides our community is making to break the barriers that socially enclose us (i.e. Model Minority, standard of beauty, colorism, etc)
My biggest takeaway from the intern program was the confidence and comfort I gained in my Asian American identity. Coming from Monterey Park (aka like 70% Asian population), I never thought there was much significance to my identity or the struggles I faced once I left the San Gabriel Valley. My friends and I all had similar problems so why complain if you and your whole community face the same struggles right? Once I joined APASA’s intern program, I learned to understand why these struggles came about and how to combat them. I’ve learned to not shy away from my culture and be extremely excited about where I grew up and how that’s shaped me.
Why should people join the intern program?
The intern program is for anyone who wants to learn more about Asian Pacific American issues and wants to do something about it. Don't be worried about whether it's the right community for you - there's a variety of personalities and work styles that mesh together to create our Programming Board. Apart from planning events, if you're new to USC, it is a perfect way to make tons of friends because we're linked to our 26 member organizations. You can make an expansive network of people at USC that will help you feel at home here.
You should join the intern program because it will help foster growth within yourself and prepare you for success in your future, both at an academic and professional level. You get to meet some of the most passionate and kind people on campus who share a desire to create awareness, make safe spaces, and share culture with everyone. From learning how to organize events to networking with fellow students and community members, you will not only learn these professional skills, help contribute back to your community, but meet amazing people that you can call your family.
Cool people. Sick merch. Meaningful conversations. An inside look at USC. Opportunities to serve the community and show your new friends that it is super cool to love who you are as an Asian american, but also how that in itself might mean something entirely different than you thought it did in high school. APASA gives you a space to connect with people who might have similar experiences, but also a place to encounter new meanings of being Asian American.