Bringing Together Young Asian American and Pacific Islander Leaders Across the Country Virtually

Announcing our Spring Youth Leadership Summit Cohort!

Since 2014, Advancing Justice | AAJC has convened college students for its signature youth program, a multi-day leadership development program for young advocates that is focused on advocacy, communications, and civic engagement around policy issues impacting our communities. Through this annual convening, we provide a unique opportunity for young advocates from across the country to learn from and network with policy advocates and national leaders. In addition, students are able to build and strengthen their own networks of student leaders across the country. This year, we are able to hold a Spring Summit in addition to our Youth Leadership Summit in the fall.

Through interactive workshops, hands-on trainings, and discussions with leaders on Capitol Hill, participants build advocacy and communications skills and gain a deeper understanding of how they can impact policy decisions. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, there is an urgent need to organize around providing relief for immigrants and refugees, combatting COVID-19-related racism and hate, and more.

Over the years, we have had the privilege of convening exemplary young advocates from a myriad of diverse communities and spanning all regions across the country. We’re thrilled to announce our 8th Youth Leadership Summit cohort, and our first Spring Summit.

Eileen Calub (She/Hers), Filipino American, Junior, University of Florida

Eileen Calub is a rising senior at the University of Florida. She is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in International Studies & Linguistics with a minor in Mass Communication Studies. She is passionate about migrant, Indigenous, and Asian American rights. On campus, she is a Philanthropy Chair for the Filipino Student Association, Cultural Chair for the Rho Chapter of Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc., and Treasurer for the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA). Currently, Eileen is an intern for New York State Assemblymember Brian Barnwell and the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA). In the past, Eileen has interned for Cultural Survival as an Indigenous Rights Radio intern. Eileen is a four-time recipient of U.S. Department of State/Defense scholarships, including the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y), the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX), the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS), and the David L. Boren scholarship. She aspires to work in the U.S. Foreign Service as a Public Diplomacy Officer and inspire young Asian American to enter public service. In her free time, Eileen loves creative writing, traveling, and learning foreign languages.

Mika Chan (She/Hers/Her), Japanese and Chinese American, Junior, Seattle University

Mika Chan is a junior at Seattle University pursuing a major in business marketing with a minor in sociology. She is a paternal third-generation, maternal fourth-generation Japanese and Chinese American who grew up in San Francisco. Throughout her college career, Mika has worked in various positions and work experiences that have allowed her to leverage her passion for servant leadership, creative marketing, and interactive community involvement. On-campus, she is a brand ambassador for Guayaki, a sustainable beverage company, and has served on the executive boards for Alpha Kappa Psi, a co-ed business fraternity, and SU’s Undergraduate Leadership Club. Off-campus, Mika has been involved in the community as a development intern for the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, the Nikkei Community Internship program, and as chair of the education committee for Tsuru for Solidarity, a non-violent direct-action protest working to end detention sites and support front-line immigrant and refugee communities. As a descendent of Japanese Americans who were incarcerated in internment camps during WWII, Mika’s activism is rooted in her passion to help the AAPI community find collective healing from racism and discrimination through solidarity with BIPOC by building relationships across race and borders.

Celia Le (she/hers), Vietnamese American, Junior, Columbia University

Celia Bùi Lê is a rising Senior at Columbia University studying East Asian Languages & Cultures and Linguistics. Born and raised in Saigon, Vietnam, she is passionate about storytelling and representation of marginalized groups, focusing on intergenerational trauma and intersectional Asian identities like sexuality, gender, class, and Indigeneity. On campus, she is the Visuals Team Leader of Columbia Int-Fic, creating global empathy through interactive fiction during COVID-19. At the Weatherhead East Asian Institute’s Tibetan Studies Department, she serves as the Copy Editor of the Waxing Moon Journal of Tibetan and Himalayan Studies. As the Vietnamese Translator for The Southeast Asian Diaspora Project, she works on creating new Vietnamese language centering abolition in the wake of racial uprisings to familiarize Southeast Asian American diaspora with social justice. She is also the Graphic Designer and Translator for the Family Acceptance Project’s Asian/Pacific Languages Expansion, an initiative that works to prevent health and mental health risks for LGBTQ+ children and youth. In NYC, Celia works as a Poll Worker and volunteers for Gender Conference NYC and NewFest. Previously, she has been a Featured Artist at the International Human Rights Art Festival for her art on the Indigenous Degar Peoples of Vietnam.

Amara Sengamphan (She/Hers), Cambodian/Laotian American, Senior, UC San Diego

Amara Sengamphan works as an intern at the Women’s Center, where she serves as a community liaison focused on building an equitable campus culture for socially marginalized women. There she is currently researching institutionalized Sex Trafficking within South East Asia and is building a COVID-19 Loss support group for all UC San Diego students. As the President of the Cambodian Student Association she works diligently to welcome Khmer students of all backgrounds in unity by representing our culture, building community, volunteer work, and through sharing resources that will aid in student development. Off-campus, she also balances her time volunteering at Menifee Residential Facility, where she aids and teaches developmentally disabled adults the necessary living skills for their progression towards independent living. Amara will continue helping underrepresented communities through advocacy and outreach as much as she can but ultimately dreams of becoming a human rights or immigration lawyer to directly help individuals reunite families who have suffered from our unjust incarceration and deportation practices.

Eloise Lopez (She/Hers), Filipina, Junior, Northern Marianas College

Eloise Lopez is a rising senior at the Northern Marianas College. Eloise is pursuing her Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education and her Associates of Arts in Natural Resource Management. She recently received her Associates of Arts in Education. Eloise was born and raised in the island of paradise, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Saipan. Eloise is passionate about making a difference in her community. She currently is the school senator for her college and represents as a voice for the students. She gives them the resources that they need and sharing information for opportunities to help in the community. Eloise is a scientist by heart, where she shared her research with the NIDDK “The Prevalence of Oral Cancer in Adolescents Related to Areca (Betel) Nut Chewing, Using Tobacco and Other Additives in Saipan, Northern Marianas Islands: A Review of Literature”. Eloise has also finished her summer internship at the Division of Coastal Resources Management as a Laboratory intern with the Environmental Quality (DEQ) Environmental Surveillance Laboratory, which she learned how to collect and analyze marine and drinking waters. In her spare time, she served as a youth ministry president for the Kristo Rai Church. As she travels from opportunity to another, she uses her spare time to teach ESL students and outreach to her community. Eloise also writes poems and stories and wrote, “life is a long-long journey, it should never be a race, competition, or even taken away, it should be filled with hope, trials, an emotional rollercoaster, It should be filled where it is needed, and that is where we can find the happiness we always longed to look for.”

Nyx Hauth (They/Them), Indian American, Senior, Berklee College of Music

Nyx Hauth (they/them) is a transgender nonbinary Indian American. They attend Berklee College of Music, majoring in Professional Music and concentrating in Songwriting and Music Technology. Their principal instrument is the acoustic/electric lever harp. Their band The Dead Friends Club releases its first album this year (2021). In 2015 they committed to Student Action as an activist and organizer. After attending People’s Action Weeklong Leadership Training they became Lead Organizer of Grinnell College Student Action. When they transferred to Berklee they became Student Action’s National Social Media Director. They have led advocacy on environmental, disability, racial, and economic justice issues. They lobbied for LGBTQ+ rights across multiple states including the Iowa and Virginia State Capitols. Their advocacy crossed international borders with House Liberal Arts Beyond Borders in Tohoku, Okinawa, and Tokyo, Japan and with She Knows Tech in Valencia, Spain. For the former they designed and taught a curriculum on social justice to high school students and acted as a cultural ambassador for LGBTQ+ and Indian Americans. For the latter they instigated the expansion of the program to include transgender women and nonbinary people. They remain dedicated to their Asian American heritage through leadership in cultural organizations and political advocacy.

Hannah (KC) Mukai (She/Her), Japanese American, Chinese American, Senior, University of California, Berkeley

KC Mukai is a graduating senior at the University of California, Berkeley studying Sociology and Global Public Health. As a Yonsei, she is influenced by her Japanese American identity, having ancestors that were wrongfully incarcerated during World War II. This history as well as her interests in community building and social justice have inspired her to take leadership positions in several community organizations. At Cal, she is a part of the Nikkei Student Union and Sigma Phi Omega, an Asian-interest sorority. Outside of campus, she is on the Policy and Advocacy Working Group and co-chair of the Next-Gen Coalition for the grassroots Japanese American organization, Tsuru for Solidarity. She is also a part of The Young Buddhist Editorial, a platform dedicated to uplift the voices of young Asian American Buddhists, as the Content and Outreach Coordinator and Social Justice Committee Chair. She has hosted several workshops and events around anti-blackness, Japanese American identity, voting rights, Buddhism, and more. In her free time, she enjoys playing the cello, weightlifting, and reading. Grateful for the opportunity to participate in Advancing Justice | AAJC’s YLS, KC hopes to continue serving her community and being a force of positive change for marginalized communities in the U.S.

Nima Rahman (She/Hers), Pakistani American, Senior, University of Texas at Austin

As the eldest daughter of Pakistani immigrants, Nima Rahman is a senior at The University of Texas at Austin, studying Neuroscience and Plan II, an interdisciplinary humanities major. For the past three years, Nima has served as a clinical and social services volunteer at the C.D. Doyle Clinic, a free healthcare clinic. Currently, she serves as the Co-Director of Leadership Development for Asian Desi Pacific Islander American Collective (ADPAC), a social justice agency for APIDA students within UT Austin’s Multicultural Engagement Center. Here, she taught a comprehensive AAPI-informed advocacy and social justice curriculum for the Asian American Leadership Institute and Internship Program. Additionally, she collaborated on a team project focused on developing a LGBTQIA+ health curriculum for healthcare providers in Chennai, India through the President’s Award for Global Learning, a grant funding student-initiated research projects. Nima was also selected as a member of the Dell Medical School Health Leadership Apprenticeship Program where she participates in leading-edge health care projects to advance various fields in medicine. After graduation, she plans to pursue a clinical job and attend medical school for family medicine. In her free time, she loves long-distance running, giving campus tours, and eating at new TX BBQ joints.

Jessica Par (She/Her/Hers), Chin (Burmese), Senior, University of Washington

Jessica Par (she/her) is a fourth-year undergraduate student, attending the University of Washington (Seattle). She is double majoring in American Ethnic Studies and Education, Communities, and Organizations. Resettling as Chin (Burmese) refugees in Washington since 2011 with her family, she identities as a 1.5 generation immigrant as well as a first-generation college student. Jessica’s unique journey of fleeing a military-ruled country, Myanmar, in which she spent over four years in Malaysia as refugees under the United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees (UNHCR), has embarked her passion for storytelling and advocacy of her Chin community, a historically minoritized ethnic group in Myanmar, along with other underserved communities of color in the U.S. She co-founded Chin Leaders of Tomorrow (CLT), which is a Chin youth-led organization that aims to cultivate and empower emerging leaders by providing opportunities, educational resources, and training to best serve underrepresented communities, and currently serves as an Outreach Director. She also serves as a Student Ambassador for the UW Multicultural Outreach and Recruitment (MOR) and a Peer Advisor for the OMA&D Academic Counseling Services (ACS). She also advocates for transportation and mobility justice with a small cohort of leaders, Youth for Equitable Streets, established Healthy King County Coalitions (HKCC). Upon her graduation, Jessica plans to take gap years before pursuing graduate school and hopes to continue being active in community organizing and civic engagement!

Annie Li (She/Hers) Chinese American, Junior, Emory University

Annie Li is a junior at Emory University studying History and Sociology. Born in New York and raised in New Jersey, she is the daughter of two incredible Chinese immigrants. Her interdisciplinary coursework in the Civil Rights movement and Asian American history catalyzed her interests in voting rights, racial justice, and the role of religion in civic engagement. During the past election cycle, Annie interned at Fair Fight, where she worked on the Development and Voter Protection teams. On campus, Annie serves as founding Editor-in-Chief of Emory In Via, a journal of Christian thought; Co-Vice President of Finance of Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Activists (APIDAA); and a Family Group leader at her church, Journey Church of Atlanta. Through a fellowship with Imagining America, Annie is currently working on an oral history project, a collection of Atlantans’ narratives of their religious faiths and civic engagement. Annie loves jamming to worship music on the guitar and sharing spontaneous conversations. After college, she dreams to work at the nexus of Asian American civil rights and religion, to continue amplifying the humanity of AAPI individuals and communities.

An Nguyen (She/Hers), Vietnamese American, Sophomore, University of California, Berkeley

An Nguyen is a sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies. She was born in Vietnam and immigrated with her parents to Orange County, California when she was one month old. Growing up as a first-generation, low-income, Southeast Asian, maneuvering the waters toward higher education was one of her biggest struggles because it was not common within her community to pursue this route. Because of this experience, she found passion in mentoring high school students from underserved areas when she came into college to empower them to seek higher education and other post-secondary pathways. Being apart of the outreach team for her school’s API Recruitment and Retention Center has exposed her to the disparities and flaws within the education system in California as she traveled throughout the Bay Area and Southern California to outreach to high school students about the attainability of higher education. This inspired her to channel her energy into pursuing public policy, and use the experience and knowledge she has gained to develop more resources for the API youth in the community she is rooted in. In her free time, An enjoys reading, going on walks, and taking photos on her film camera.

Nelson Lin (He/Him), Chinese American, Sophomore, Brown University

Nelson Lin is a sophomore at Brown University studying public health and neuroscience. The son of Chinese immigrants, he hails from Freehold, New Jersey. As a student on the pre-medical track at Brown, Nelson hopes to pursue an MD/MPH, with the hopes of becoming a physician-advocate working with underserved populations and pursuing equitable health policy. This past summer, he served as a health policy intern with New America, where he analyzed health infrastructure and political barriers to effective COVID-19 responses in Atlanta, Georgia. He also worked as a policy research intern with Stop AAPI Hate, where he co-authored a report on anti-Chinese rhetoric cited in Congressional resolutions and by the United Nations Human Rights Council. At Brown, he has the privilege of serving as the president of the Asian/American Political Alliance, an organization focused on Asian/American policy issues and community building. There, his work has included census outreach efforts and phonebanking toward AAPI voters during the 2020 presidential election as part of the APIAVote Ambassadors Program. Outside of his advocacy work, Nelson works with low-income patients at Rhode Island Hospital to address their social determinants of health and conducts research on disparities in stroke patients due to socioeconomic status. Nelson is excited to take part in this year’s summit and learn about effective advocacy supporting Asian/American communities.

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Advancing Justice – AAJC

Fighting for civil rights for all and working to empower #AsianAmericans to participate in our democracy.