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Alumni Spotlight: Victoria L. Chan

Victoria L. Chan is the daughter to Chinese immigrant parents. Originally based in New York City, she graduated with a double major in Political Science and African American Studies from Syracuse University. Victoria is a proud sister of Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. Victoria speaks about some of her experiences as a member of an Asian Interest Sorority, “Committing myself to an Asian interest sorority meant making a lifetime decision to empower young women and uplift my community. We are constantly being scrutinized and stereotyped by Asian women, which is why it is important to work hard to break barriers. College is a scary place, so finding a family and a place to call home is very important. One of the most important aspects about being a leader in Greek lettered organizations is the concept of Greek unity. College is a time to explore different opportunities and experiences. My chapter collaborated with Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. at Syracuse on lots of events and both organizations won fraternity and sorority of the year together! We must step outside of our comfort zones and intentionally learn about others in order for us to grow as people.” Victoria has worked as Jackie Chan’s executive assistant and has traveled from Mongolia to Miami, from Singapore to Spain, assisting in earthquake and drought relief efforts to being on the international promotional tour of “The Karate Kid” remake. She has been involved with non-profit performing arts programs since 2000. She has worked with the Britney Spears Foundation, American Idol, the Jonas Brothers Foundation, RUN4LIFE, 50 Cent’s G-Unity Foundation, Jackie Chan’s Charitable Foundation & Usher’s new Look Foundation. In 2011, she launched “elicit 4tography”, dedicated to helping non-profit organizations. She has been featured in the Hollywood Reporter, MTV, People Magazine, Daily News, VH1, and Empire Magazine. She was most recently mentioned in PeoplePets.com for the Jackie Chan Charity Bear Project, which she launched to benefit the JC Build a School Foundation. Victoria currently works as the Graduate Assistant of Greek Life at the University of West Georgia. She enjoys writing poetry and practicing yoga in her free time.

Alumni Spotlight: Clair Kuriakose

Clair Kuriakose, Distinguished Sister Euphoria of Sigma Sigma Rho Sorority, Incorporated. founded Shingari’s School of Rhythm on 2008 after she graduated form Saint John’s University.  Clair was captain of the SJU Bollywood dance team, Raaz and wanted to continue her passion in Indian Bollywood dance after her studies.  After she moved back to Texas, she started she started Shigari’s School of Rhythm in hopes to share her passion for dance for the younger generation. The school now has many locations nationwide including Houston, Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles! In 2013 Clair started a new online branch to the school in hopes to spread Bollywood dance worldwide.  The online branch, www.bollywoodtrainer.com has now over 1000 users world wide. Shingari’s school of rhythm in association with bollywoodtrainer.com has won many awards for choreography and performance.  They have also had many opportunities to perform at live concerts including Jay Sean, Sonu Nigam, and AR Rahamnan. Recently Bollywoodtrainer.com has opened for the NBA prime time  game Dallas Mavericks vs Chicagobulls! Bollywoodtrainer.com wishes to continue to spread the Indian culture in 2014.

NAPA Partners with NAAPIMHA and Active Minds for AAPI Mental Health Awareness

The National Asian Pacific Islander American Panhellenic Association (NAPA) and the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA) and Active Minds are excited to announce a new partnership to bring mental health education and awareness to Asian and Asian-American students on college campuses. Through the Friends DO Make a Difference initiative, collegiate chapters of NAPA will have access to programming and resources to promote mental health, reduce stigma, and encourage help-seeking in a community that may face cultural and language barriers when accessing treatment. “We identified that mental health is a significant and unaddressed issue for many of our member organizations,” said Brian Gee, Executive Chair of NAPA. “We are excited to partner with two prominent organizations in the field of mental health to equip the collegiate leaders we represent with skills and knowledge needed to recognize and refer peers who might be struggling.” “Research has shown that Asian students on campus with mental health problems are significantly less likely to be receiving treatment than their peers in other racial/ethnic groups,” said Sara Abelson, Senior Director of Programs at Active Minds. The Friends DO Make A Difference initiative aims to have NAPA members start a series of dialogues and activities on a range of topics, recognizing that mental health is a part of their everyday lives. NAPA chapters participating in the Friends DO Make a Difference initiative will train chapter officers and advisors to identify signs and symptoms of mental health concerns and host events with their membership to connect them to mental health resources on campus. Upon completion of mental health training and programming, chapters will be recognized with a Friends DO Make a Difference Seal of Distinction. “The Friends campaign was designed to raise awareness of mental health among Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students. The hope is to make campuses a safe place to talk about key issues as students learn how to support each other. We are excited to work closely with NAPA and Active Minds to develop student leaders who will advocate on behalf of mental health,” said DJ Ida, Executive Director of NAAPIMHA. “By working with the next generation of leaders, we hope to reduce stigma and open positive dialogue about mental health for years to come.” “We are excited to partner with NAPA and NAAPIMHA to reach an important and often underserved community of students when it comes to mental health awareness,” said Sara Abelson, Senior Director of Programs at Active Minds. The Friends DO Make a Difference initiative will support Active Minds’ mission to empower students to speak openly about mental health in order to educate others and encourage help seeking. About the National Asian Pacific Islander American Panhellenic Association The National Asian Pacific Islander American Panhellenic Association (NAPA) is an association of collegiate fraternities and sororities with an interest in culture and serving the APIA community. The organization serves to advocate the needs of its member organizations and provides a forum to share ideas and resources within its members. NAPA supports the development of positive relations through open communication with interfraternal partners to enrich the fraternal experience. Learn more at www.napa-online.org. About the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association The National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. NAAPIMHA’s mission is to promote the mental health and well being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Since its founding, NAAPIMHA strives to raise awareness of the role of mental health in an individual’s health and well-being, especially in Asian American Pacific Islander communities throughout the country. For more information visit: www.naapimha.org. About Active Minds, Inc. Active Minds is the young adult voice in mental health advocacy. By supporting a rapidly growing network of hundreds of student-led chapters at colleges and universities, Active Minds empowers students to speak openly about mental health in order to educate others and encourage help-seeking.  Active Minds is a national nonprofit headquartered in Washington D.C. Follow us on Twitter @Active_Minds. For more information visit: www.ActiveMinds.org.

Sigma Sigma Rho Sorority, Inc. joins NAPA

The National APIA Panhellenic Association (NAPA) is pleased to announce that Sigma Sigma Rho Sorority, Inc. has joined the Association as its 13th member organization. The sorority was approved for membership in November and was formally seated at the Association’s annual meeting on December 7th, 2013. Sigma Sigma Rho was established in December 1998 and currently has established chapters across the country. Its national philanthropy is the awareness and prevention of domestic violence. Kiran Wadhwa, Sigma Sigma Rho’s National President, commented, “We highly value and respect NAPA’s standards and significance in the Greek world. Sigma Sigma Rho takes much pride in being able to work alongside other NAPA organizations to give back to the community and make a difference in our collective future.” NAPA Executive Chair Brian Gee welcomed Sigma Sigma Rho stating, “The addition of Sigma Sigma Rho Sorority to the Association is evidence of the incredible growth of the cultural greek movement and the critical role our organizations play in the lives of our members and in the communities which we serve. Their membership reinforces the diverse needs and interests of college women. Fraternities and Sororities are the largest leadership development organizations on colleges across the country and we look forward to Sigma Sigma Rho’s collaboration with our member organizations in our effort to advance the fraternal movement.” NAPA was founded in 2005. NAPA serves to advocate the needs of its member organizations and provide a forum to share ideas and resources within its members. NAPA supports the development of positive relations through open communication with interfraternal partners to enrich the fraternal experience.

Alumni Spotlight: Jeanette Moy

Jeanette Moy, a member of Sigma Psi Zeta Sorority, Inc. currently serves as the Chief Strategy Officer and Vice President for Strategic Planning for the Brooklyn Public Library. Jeanette executes the Brooklyn Public Library’s plan to reorganize the nation’s fifth largest public library to fit more comprehensively into our increasingly digital society. It is by no means an easy feat.  However, Jeanette seems to effortlessly balance the responsibilities of her job, her children, and commitment to improving Greek, community, and nonprofit organizations that enrich culture of various communities.  In addition to her endeavors at the Brooklyn Public Library, Jeanette played a key role in utilizing digital tools to provide the citizens of New York City better access to information and services across agencies as a senior policy advisor in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office of operations. Inspirational from the onset of her career as a community builder, in 2004, Jeanette helped lead the campaign between twelve multicultural Greek organizations to engage the Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) youth to vote.  After successfully registering 8,000 people to participate in the 2004 electoral process, as well as raising money for the Asian Tsunami campaign, the group was the beginning of what eventually became the National Asian Pacific Islander American Panhellenic Association (NAPA). Graduate of the University of Rochester, member of Sigma Psi Zeta Sorority, Inc., a founding member of NAPA, a founding board member of APIAVote, and former Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) college leadership trainer, Jeanette Moy is truly a driven leader who has made and continues to make a tremendous difference in the world around her.

NAPA Partners with City Year

We’re proud to announce our partnership with City Year to provide more of our Asian American alumni with the opportunity to make a difference through this program. Check out the press release here.

Alumni Spotlight: Evan Jackson Leong

Evan Jackson Leong is having a great year. He’s been walking the red carpet at film festivals across the world to introduce his film Linsanity!, which opens across the US on October 4th. When screened at the Sundance Film Festival, Linsanity! earned the director a standing ovation. About that reaction, Evan said, “It’s incredible. This is the biggest stage and it was amazing. I’ll never forget it.”. In many ways, Evan Leong’s story mirrors Jeremy Lin’s. Both of them appear to have come from nowhere to experience great success, but nothing could be further from the truth. For both, their success is the result of years of hard work and tenacity. He didn’t attend film school nor did he serve an internship at a big studio. He started his collegiate studies at UC Riverside, where he joined Pi Alpha Phi fraternity before  transferring  to UCLA to earn his degree in Asian American Studies. He immersed himself into the Asian American independent film scene and received his first big break in 2003 with his film BLT: Genesis, a behind-the-scenes look at the seminal film that changed the direction of Asian American cinema. Both Lin and Leong had to fight the stereotypes that Asian Americans are scholars, not athletes or filmmakers. Both had to break society’s preconceived notions to follow their dreams. “Asian-Americans don’t really have role models of that kind we can look up to,” says Leong. “Jeremy did it in the biggest way possible. It’s not just a story about basketball, it transcends sports and culture; you can follow your dreams and actually achieve. For Asian-Americans, that’s a huge thing.” To find a screening of Linsanity near you, check here.

Alumni Spotlight: Nina Polvanich Louie

Nina Polvanich Louie crossed at the Zeta Chapter, Stanford University, of alpha Kappa Delta Phi Sorority as part of the Zeta Class in Fall 1999.  After graduating, she spent a few years of consulting at McKinsey & Company in Thailand.  She returned to the United States to complete her graduate studies at Harvard University, where she met Mike, the love of her life!  After a few years, they ended up on the West Coast, married and with an adorable son, Donovan. Around Donovan’s second birthday in September 2012, Nina felt something was not right with herself.  She received life changing news – at 32 years old, she was diagnosed with Stage IV lymphoma, an aggressive blood cancer.  Throughout her fight, Nina has been an inspiration to all of us, staying strong, battling this disease, being a role model for her son, and also bringing light to the major gap in Asian American registrants in the bone marrow registry.  A bone marrow donation is one of the most viable methods of battling lymphoma and a match is more likely to be found in someone of the same ethnicity. The Save Nina campaign launched in May 2013 order to help Nina and others battling diseases come closer to finding a match for a bone marrow transplant. Since she is of Chinese/Thai descent, she was informed that her chances of finding a match in the bone marrow registry is 1 in 20,000.  Save Nina has gone viral internationally with hundreds of drives hosted by friends and sisters, which have typed thousands of people across the country. Celebrities like Boyz II Men, Hello Kitty, Jamie Chung, Chef Morimoto, Sonia Kapadia, Kristen Bell, Jenna Ushkowitz, Sheryl Sandberg and more have helped spread the word through social media. Many Asian associations and corporate companies have hosted typing drives at their local events and within their headquarters.  Throughout it all, Nina remains gracious and strong.

July is National #MinorityMentalHealth Awareness Month

In 2008, July was proclaimed National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month by the U.S. House of Representatives, in hopes of improving access to mental health treatment and services through increased public awareness. On May 5, 2013, the NAPA Mental Health Initiative was introduced on a monthly NAPA call, during which the idea of participating in NMMHA Month was introduced. Join NAPA in this effort to raise awareness by using the hashtag #MinorityMentalHealth in your social media posts. You can also tag the following Twitter handles: @nned_net @NAMICommunicate @TheBalancedMind @NIMHgov And the Facebook page for Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month at http://www.facebook.com/minoritymentalhealth. Get your brothers, sisters, friends and family to also participate and take the pledge to take action and increase awareness of mental illness and mental health promotion while embracing the diversity of our community here. You can also consider attending the following Webinar: Our Strength and Support: Celebrating National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month Presented by Bassey Ikpi (The Siwe Project), Ramey Ko (Partner at Jung Ko, PLLC) and Associate Judge at Austin Municipal Court Wednesday, July 17, 2013 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. EST

One month to Save Nina

Nina Louie is a Stanford University alpha Kappa Delta Phi alumna who has been diagnosed with lymphoma. She has one month left to find a bone marrow match and donor. Nina is more likely to find a match in someone of Asian ethnicity, and, because the number of Asians in the bone marrow registry is so low, we need your help. Please help Nina and get typed, whether it’s ordering a home kit or going to a bone marrow drive. The test is really as easy as a cheek swab. Please encourage your sisters, brothers, friends and family to get typed as well! Visit www.savenina.com for more information.

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