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AAPAAN News, Past Events

Recap of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Virtual Series

Hello AAPAAN members, and happy (unofficial) start to summer!

We hope you enjoyed our first-ever virtual series celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. This month, we:

• Kicked off the celebrations with a virtual reception recognizing our 2021 scholarship winners. We had a great discussion on navigating the workplace, the influence of Asian culture on our behavior, and staying active and vocal in our communities, whether it’s through volunteering or speaking up at work.

• Discussed politics with Chris Lu, former deputy secretary of labor and second Asian American in history to be the deputy secretary of a cabinet agency. Chris discussed his career and provided his opinions on a wide swath of topics, including Asian Americans as a voting bloc, the recent bill – now law – addressing violence and hate crimes against Asians in the U.S., the model minority myth and the bamboo ceiling, affirmative action, and getting involved in politics.

• Shared perspectives on mental health with alumni Olivia Jeffers, Owner, Karma Yoga, and Dr. Alyssa T. Poblete Licensed Clinical Psychologist. They discussed what mental health and mindfulness mean to them, cultural differences impacting the perception and practice of mental health, the specific mental health challenges of students and professionals, and ways the audience can improve their mental health. We also quizzed them on Charlottesville experience.

• Received an update on diversity, equity, and inclusion at UVA. Kevin McDonald, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Community Partnerships at UVA, joined us to discuss his career, his office, and the different issues that the University is trying to address with regards to its APIDA students, faculty, staff, and alumni. He welcomes alumni to contact him directly at and to check out his office’s new website.

• Enjoyed an interactive discussion on “Minari” [the video will be posted to that page later in the week] between Professor Shilpa Davé, Association Dean and Assistant Professor, Department of Media Studies, and alum Steven J. Kung, Writer / Director of Fresh Off the Boat, Dear White People, A Leading Man. They discussed the importance of the award-winning film “Minari” as well as Asian and Asian Americans in film and TV.
And finally, President Ryan addresses AAPAAN members in closing remarks about APAHM.

Lily West, President & CEO of the Alumni Association, also shares her thoughts on the community and heritage month.

We hope you enjoyed the events! Recordings of all the events are available on our website’s Asian and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month webpage.

We hope you continue to support our programs and encourage other alumni to sign up for our email list. To get involved with AAPAAN, or to just share your thoughts, please reach out to Rose Zu, AAPAAN Chair,

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Rose Zu
UVA CLAS & Com ’12